It’s time Ford reverse cuts to overdose prevention sites

QUEEN’S PARK — Wednesday during question period, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and NDP Mental Health and Addictions critic Bhutila Karpoche asked Doug Ford if he will listen to his own caucus members and reverse his cuts to overdose prevention sites — something the NDP has been calling for since Ford put an arbitrary cap on the number of overdose prevention sites allowed to operate in Ontario.

Gretzky read from a letter sent by the Conservative member for Mississauga-Centre, a registered nurse, to Windsor’s police chief, demanding that a Consumption and Treatment Service Site be built in Windsor.

“The member wrote: ‘Accidental opioid-related overdoses are killing sons and daughters, moms and dads, friends, neighbours, co-workers. Nurses urge you to use your office to help put an end to this public health crisis in your community. Saving lives is everyone’s job',” Gretzky read.

“The NDP couldn’t agree more; overdose prevention sites save lives,” Gretzky said. “But Doug Ford keeps on failing communities like Windsor, allowing opioid-related deaths to rise while de-funding the life-saving sites frontline workers have been begging for. Why won’t the premier listen to his caucus members and fund a Consumption and Treatment Service Site in Windsor?”

Karpoche stressed that Windsor has one of the highest rates of opioid-related deaths in Ontario.

“It’s not just the member for Mississauga-Centre who has echoed calls made by New Democrats, health care professionals, frontline crisis workers and those with lived experience,” Karpoche said. “This past summer, the Conservative member for Peterborough-Kawartha said he would help gather 10,000 signatures and bring a petition to Queen’s Park to request that a Consumption and Treatment Service Site built in Peterborough, another Ontario community where opioid-related deaths have reached a crisis point.”

Karpoche pointed out that Ford refused the NDP’s calls to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, and cut Ontario’s mental health funding by $335-million.  

“Are the members of Doug Ford’s own government knowingly giving Ontarians false hope that help for the overdose crisis is on the way, or is the Premier finally ready to reverse course on his cruel cuts to overdose prevention sites?”

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