Her son is addicted to drugs. She's against Windsor's new consumption sites
Jodi Nesbitt says her son would not use the sites
The Windsor mother of a 28-year-old man addicted to drugs is speaking out against plans for two supervised drug consumption sites in downtown Windsor.
The proposed site locations, located at 628 Goyeau Street and 101 Wyandotte Street East, have been chosen by a committee of the Windsor Essex County Health Unit and will voted on later this fall by city council.
The sites, which could open in 2022 pending approvals, are intended to give people a place to consume drugs under medical supervision to prevent overdoses.
But Jodi Nesbitt, who says her son has been using a variety of drugs for 12 years, doesn't think he will bother going there.
"I'm exhausted, I am constantly worrying about my son. I'm constantly worrying about his family, his daughter, the repercussions of his drug use," said Nesbitt.
She would rather see money spent on treatment facilities to improve wait times, which at times can be months.
"He needs the support group. He needs people who are in recovery, and that is where you get the treatment," said Nesbitt.
He'd never go to a safe injection site. He's an addict. If he's going, he's going to meet up with new people.- Jodi Nesbitt
But addiction specialist Dr. Robert McKay says the consumption sites provide a safe place for drug addicts who otherwise aren't capable of seeking out treatment facilities.
"This is reaching those who don't have much in the way of supports. A lot of them are still injecting downtown in various places," said McKay, adding that Guelph has had success with its site that has been open for two years.
"We do know, that through tons of research and data, a lot of people end up using them. And so a lot of substance users who may not have a place to use, who do want to be supervised when they're using, will likely want to utilize a service like that," said Claire Venet-Rogers, Harm Reduction Community Education Coordinator for Pozitive Pathways Community Services.
Brentwood Recovery Home executive director Elizabeth Dulmage says it's not a question of either a treatment facility or a consumption site.
"Their disease process is very individual. And so we need a suite of options, a menu of options that that are solidly funded," said Dulmage.
"The primary goal of these sites is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases as well as death from overdose,"said Eric Nadalin, Director of Health Promotion for the Windsor-Essex Health Unit.
"However these sites also provide opportunities to speak with professional staff about how to access support for treatment of their substance dependency in addition to other social services and housing supports."
Still Nesbitt worries her son won't access the sites to get the help he needs.
"He's not worried about his safety. He's not worried about what he's putting in his body. He's not worried about a clean needle. He's worried about where he's going to get his next fix," said Nesbitt, who says addicts need a facility they go into immediately after they go through withdrawal management.
She has contacted area politicians as part of a support group of parents who feel the same way about the consumption sites. She feels even if her son did go to one he would just find more drug users who would support his addiction rather than help him out of it.
She also says the sites need to open 24 hours a day instead of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"I've got an army behind me of families that can't speak about this publicly because they fear the stigma their child will face," said Nesbitt.
- An earlier version of this story said the consumption site locations had been decided. There are two proposed sites and they will be voted on by city council in the fall.Aug 12, 2021 8:29 AM ET