An open letter supporting safe consumption sites takes aim at province

By Phi Doan

The last day of August marks International Overdose Awareness Day.

A day dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding overdoses and helping those suffering from addiction find help.

However, recent actions from the provincial government has made that hard for groups to do.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott announced earlier in July that they would conduct a review and go over evidence of whether the sites were worth continuing.

In turn, Regional Council voted on August 23 to hold off on opening any new supervised consumption sites until the province finishes its review.

In response, Elizabeth Clarke, CEO of YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo, wrote an open letter to the province calling on them to not delay.

“An open letter came out and it was signed by 120 health organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Medical Association. All of them saying safe injection sites save lives and the province is wrong to be delaying their opening,” she says, noting that people will die from lack of access to these sites.

She calls on the government to listen to the experts who have already come to the conclusion that the sites do help.

“I hope that they're sincere in their consultations and I hope they are in fact going to listen to the experts which is what they said. I'm more or less optimistic about that,” Clarke told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

According to Clarke, the YWCA has not received response from the province yet.

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