Toronto suburbs need supervised injection sites, too: advocates
Healthcare providers in Scarborough say proposed sites too far away from their communities
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The city is considering creating three supervised injection sites in downtown Toronto, but community healthcare providers in Scarborough say drug users in the suburbs remain at risk.
“We do serve a vulnerable population, some of them who could have serious drug abuse problems,” said Kim Cook, the vice president of community health at the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities.
“Having a safe injection site – at least one – would really help.”
The city’s board of health approved a proposal to integrate injection services into healthcare clinics at three locations – Queen West, Central Toronto and South Riverdale.
The locations were chosen based on high rates of intravenous drug use and associated high-risk behaviours, like overdoses and public injections, said a Toronto Public Health spokesperson.
Supervised sites have been proven to reduce overdose rates, as well as the spread of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis and HIV.
“It’s a long distance away. Transportation is a huge barrier for most of these people,” she said.
In a statement to Metro, a Toronto Public Health spokesperson said there are no plans to add additional sites in the suburbs at this time.
According to a recent report, as many as 200 people die from overdoses every year in Toronto.