Ontarians dying in opioid crisis as government dithers on overdose prevention sites

With cold, wind and rain forcing the closure of a community-driven temporary overdose prevention site, Parkdale—High Park MPP Bhutila Karpoche rose in question period Monday to urge the Ford government to open the previously approved, semi-permanent overdose prevention site that can operate year-round.

“Volunteers who ran a temporary overdose prevention site in Parkdale decided last week that they had to close, as the changing weather meant they could no longer operate safely. At the same time, a fully equipped medical trailer for overdose prevention sits unused,” said Karpoche.

“Some 189 people – and counting – have died in the 10 weeks since the government started its unnecessary review of overdose prevention sites, given the evidence is already very clear.”

Frontline care workers, addiction experts, and community members with lived experience almost unanimously support the creation and operation of overdose prevention sites, to save the lives of Ontarians swept up in the opioid crisis. Despite significant evidence supporting their creation and operation, the Ford government has ceased operation of all official sites, and the coming winter weather is forcing community-driven volunteer sites to close.

“People are dying while this government dithers. Three people a day die from preventable overdoses,” said Karpoche.

“Regardless of whether Doug Ford is ‘dead set’ against these sites, it is a proven harm-reduction tool that saves lives.”

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