A group tasked with battling drug addiction in Sudbury wants to hire someone to study whether the city needs a supervised drug injection site.
“The study’s goal is to identify local needs and determine if supervised consumption services would be a potential solution for some of the drug issues in Greater Sudbury,” Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts and co-chair of the Community Drug Strategy, said in a release Tuesday.
To that end, the Community Drug Strategy is issuing a request for quotation for a research officer to coordinate what it calls a Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study for Supervised Consumption Services.
“This work builds on last week’s community town hall meeting hosted by Sudbury MPP Jamie West on the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Ariella Zbar, Associate Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
“The use and harms from opioids and other drugs affect all socioeconomic levels in our community, and this study will help better understand the needs of those who use drugs, the needs of the community, and the next steps to take to address these issues.”
The Community Drug Strategy said people who misuse substances come from all walks of life. Drug use affects everyone and is not limited to certain locations, ethnicities, genders, ages or social classes.
In the Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area, opioid-related deaths have increased from 17 in 2016 to 34 in 2017, based on preliminary data.
In addition, 391 emergency department visits in 2017 were due to drug-related overdoses.
The Community Drug Strategy said supervised consumption services are controlled spaces where people can consume drugs under the supervision of trained staff in a clean and safe environment.
People who use the services can also receive basic medical care and referrals to other health and social services.
Supervised consumption services are legal in Canada with federal government approval. However, supervised consumption services do not provide drugs to people.
The Community Drug Strategy for the City of Greater Sudbury represents more than 25 community partners from community agencies including health, social services, education, police, justice, and emergency services.
The partnership envisions a community working together to improve the health, safety, and well-being of all individuals, families, neighbourhoods and communities in Greater Sudbury by creating a society increasingly free of the range of harms associated with substance misuse.