Researcher still wanted to determine if Sudbury needs supervised drug consumption site

Following a recent town hall on the tainted drug crisis in Sudbury, some people asked about the status of getting a supervised drug consumption and treatment site going in the city.

Request for proposal for researcher first issued in November 2018

Supervised drug consumption and treatment sites allow people to use in safe, clean environments under the eye of trained medical staff. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Following  a recent town hall on the tainted drug crisis in Sudbury, some of those in attendance asked about the status of a supervised drug consumption and treatment site being created in the city.

According to Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), supervised consumption services are controlled spaces where people can consume drugs under supervision, in a clean and safe environment.

PHSD started recruiting in late November for a research officer to compile information on the feasibility of a supervised drug consumption site.

No one has yet been chosen for the job.

Chantal Belanger is a nurse with Public Health Sudbury, who speaks for the partners of Sudbury's Community Drug Strategy.

She says no one responded to the first request for proposals for a researcher before the deadline of Dec. 14, 2018. However, she adds that a second call remains open, and there is more than one interested candidate.

More than three months into the recruiting process, Belanger says all is going according to plan.

"It's progressing as I had anticipated, in regards to meeting our timelines," she says. "We had initially put in the times for ethics approval, and also for having the final recruitment research officer for the spring of 2019."

Belanger says a year has been set aside for the researcher to gather input through interviews, online surveys and focus groups. Recommendations are to be made by the spring of 2020.

That length of time doesn't sit well with some people.

Lisa Toner, community outreach co-ordinator with Reseau Access Network, has an idea to speed up the study.

"I'm hoping potentially different community organizations could break up some of the work, and each take on a digestible portion of it. So that we can get this moving and move forward with this because it's so needed in our community," she says.

Toner says time is of the essence to save lives.

"The longer we wait, the more people are going to die of fatal opioid overdoses in Sudbury and Manitoulin areas." she says.

Greater Sudbury Police estimate that in just over two years, 60 people have died of toxic drug overdoses across the city.​


Kate Rutherford


Kate Rutherford is a CBC newsreader and reporter in Sudbury. She reaches across northern Ontario to connect with people and their stories. She has worked as a journalist in Saint John, N.B and calls Halifax, N.S. home.


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