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Guelph Overdose Prevention Site facing closure with provincial review

The Province announced last week they are reviewing overdose prevention programs in Ontario
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The using room of the Overdose Prevention Site in the Guelph Community Health Centre. In two months the site has had over 430 visits, 84 per cent of which were to use opioid-based drugs. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

As the opioid crisis continues to be a hot topic in our area, officials with the Overdose Prevention Site in Guelph say it's more important than ever that the province continue to invest in these sites. 

The Provincial Health Minister has announced last week, the government is looking to review the programs to see if they are worth continuing.

The OPS in Guelph is located just inside the main lobby of the Community Health Centre, and has already proven to reduce public drug use, reduce incidents of public appearance of needles, and improve community safety.

This according to Executive Director of the Guelph Community Health Centre, Raechelle Devereaux who adds the closure of the site would be concerning.

"We would have considerable concerns, with respect to most importantly loss of life by overdose by the folks that we are seeing accessing the site." 

She says it makes sense that a new government would want to do a detailed review of a service, but that is something that has already happened when it comes to the effectiveness of these programs. 

If the province were to shut down the downtown site, the OPS would close doors in November of this year. 

Devereaux says legally they cannot continue to operate without support and approval from either the province or the federal government.  

She adds she hasn't heard from the province about participating in the review or if the Guelph site will be looked at, but they are open to helping in any way. 

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