Overdose prevention site opens in Windsor — but you can't actually use drugs in it
Mock site opened by the Windsor Overdose Prevention Society
On the weekend, a black tent popped up at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Elliott Street W. in downtown Windsor.
It has all the hallmarks of a temporary overdose prevention site, including staff, a sign saying "Windsor Overdose Prevention Site" and the availability of naloxone and harm reduction kits.
But there's one major caveat: people aren't actually allowed to consume drugs on the premises.
The 'mock' site is an initiative of a community group called Windsor Overdose Prevention Society. They were spurred into action when the Ford government placed overdose prevention site applications — including one for Windsor — on hold.
The idea was to open a temporary, unsanctioned site similar to those in Toronto operated by the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society, which, while initially illegal, were given clearance by police to operate.
However, according to Brandon Bailey, a member of the Windsor group, police here have not been as permissive.
"We can't have people using on the site now, because they could be convicted of a crime," he said in an interview with Afternoon Drive Chris dela Torre. "We're here to help the community — the drug-using community — we're not here to put them in a position where they're all going to get arrested."
As a result, the group decided to open a mock site to show residents what an overdose prevention site is all about.
"This very beneficial to the drug-using community, yes, but it's also beneficial to everybody else in the community," Bailey said. "Nobody wants their children to have to find a needle on the school ground — we can help with that problem."
The group plans to operate during the evening at the Victoria Avenue site this week and hopes to find a different location in the future.