Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay safe injection site sees busiest month so far in January

Thunder Bay's only safe injection site saw its busiest month ever in January.

Demand for Path525's services is increasing

Brad King is the supervisor at Path525, Thunder Bay's only safe injection site. He says the facility had its busiest month ever in January 2020. (CBC News)

Thunder Bay's only safe injection site saw its busiest month ever in January.

"We saw 500 people last month, it was our busiest month," said Path525 supervisor Brad King. "So, it was 119 unique consumers came in through our door."

"We have given harm-reduction equipment to many more people," he said. "And we've so far been able to respond to 23 overdoses in the time that we've been open, and we've had zero ambulance calls. So we've been able to deal with all of them in-house."

Path525 opened in November 2018, and operates out of the Norwest Community Health Centres building on Simpson Street.

The facility provides a safe, clean, and supervised place for people to use drugs, but that's just one of Path525's services, King said.

"We're also a first point of contact for a lot of health services for people that may not be accessing them," he said. "People can come in here and get access to detox or treatment, opioid substitution therapy such as methadone or Suboxone, housing, ID services, financial support."

Path525 held an open house on Sunday to give people a closer look at the work staff there do.

"Stigma is, I think, the number one killer," King said. "That's why people don't get help."

"We can only help the people that are coming in through our doors, and stigma keeps people out. So, just reducing that within the whole community is so important."