The NWHU wants to get the public’s thoughts on supervised consumption services.
The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) has published a public survey to establish what the people of NWO think about supervised consumption services and the potential future for these services in the region.
According to the NWHU, supervised consumption services are “legally sanctioned spaces where people are allowed to use pre-obtained illegal drugs in a clean, safe, and supportive environment.”
The goal of these consumption sites is to provide a safe environment to reduce overdose-related injuries and death, they can also help to reduce public drug use, and improperly discarded needles, and minimize the risks related to sharing or reusing equipment.
Supervised consumption sites are also proven to increase access to healthcare and supportive services for people who use drugs.
The NWHU study will be used to assess the need for, and suitability of, services in Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances, and Sioux Lookout.
The NWHU has hired LBCG Consulting for Impact to complete the project, bringing with them a team of harm reduction and public health experts.
In a prepared statement, the Medical Officer of Health for the NWHU, Dr. Kitt Young Hoon, said “before moving forward, we are interested in learning what our communities’ perspectives are on supervised consumption services. This includes questions about whether the services would be useful, and what additional considerations need to be discussed locally regarding these services.”
Canada’s first Safe Injection Site launched in Vancouver in 2003 as a divisive pilot project. The facility has supervised nearly 4 million injections and responded to over 6,000 overdoses, but no deaths have ever been recorded within the facility. Studies have also shown the site has decreased overdose rates within the East Vancouver area.
Now, there are roughly 40 government-authorized Safe Consumption Services sites in Canada. An exemption to the Controlled Substances Act is granted within the facility, but drug possession remains illegal outside of the site.
A 2014 study found that safe injection sites were found to reduce overdose deaths, increase access to health services, lead to a decrease in outdoor drug use and did not appear to have any negative impacts on rates of crime or drug use in their communities.
The survey is open to the public in the region until August 12, 2022.
For more information and access to the survey, click HERE.