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Supervised consumption ending in Timmins, the only site in northeastern Ontario, due to lack of funding

The only supervised drug consumption site left in northeastern Ontario will stop offering the service at the end of June due to lack of funding.

In April, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Cochrane-Timiskaming offered temporary funding to the Safe Health Site so it could remain open until June 30.

The organization says it has not obtained additional funding requested from the provincial government.

The site will still remain open and offer other types of overdose prevention services, such as the distribution of clean equipment, counselling and withdrawal management.

“We know that 90 per cent of customers access the site for medical services. I am still optimistic that the referral will be made and that people will be able to access primary care,” said Timmins Mayor Michelle Boileau.

A loss for the community

Several representatives say ending the supervised consumption service will have negative repercussions for the region.

Boileau highlighted the data, “which demonstrate that we are saving lives with this service.”

“This idea that people will continue to consume, but will no longer have the option of doing so in a place with medical supervision, is worrying,” she said.

Seamus Murphy, deputy chief of paramedic services for the Cochrane district, said there has never been a fatal overdose in the supervised consumption site and it has allowed around 40 residents to have access to long-term care for addiction management.

WATCH | CBC’s Nick Purdon goes to the front line at the Safe Health Site in Timmins:

supervised consumption ending in timmins the only site in northeastern ontario due to lack of funding

A safer place to shoot up — and the fight to shut it down

21 hours ago

Duration 11:05

Like many communities across Canada, the northern Ontario city of Timmins is divided over its supervised injection site. CBC’s Nick Purdon goes to the front line of the fight to shut it down and hears from the people who rely on it and the neighbours who want it closed.

In particular, officials expect an increase in calls for overdose interventions by emergency services, which decreased by 20 per cent after the supervised consumption site opened its doors.

“We will most likely see an increase in deaths in our community. We also expect to see an increase in the use of emergency services,” said Paul Jalbert, general director of the CMHA for Cochrane-Timiskaming.

Jalbert said the increased demand for emergency services will have consequences for front-line professionals in the region.

“It’s difficult to bear witness to people who are suffering so much without feeling an impact,” he said.

Ontario’s 2024 budget contained no mention of supervised consumption sites in northern Ontario. 

Radio-Canada asked the office of the minister of health if they planned to cover the costs for the supervised consumption service or propose another solution. The office responded with a statement clarifying that the Sudbury and Timmins sites were never approved or funded by the province.

This article is from from cbc.ca (CBC NEWS CANADA)

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