Increase in overdoses prompts new injection trailer at downtown shelter

In September, staff members at the Shepherds of Good Hope were called to 75 cases of clients overdosing and in need of naloxone.


This number jumped from just four in June.


Ottawa Inner City Health filed an application with the province to get funding for a supervised injection site at the Shepherds of Good Hope but have since changed what they are applying for, to reflect the increase in demand.


"We're going to be operating 8 injection bays, 24 hours a day," explained Wendy Muckle, the Executive Director of Ottawa Inner City Health. "In our population most of the action is in the evening and on the overnight so anything that doesn't operate in the evening and overnight doesn't actually meet what’s happening and the community's need."


Muckle said that they have plans to move ahead now with their site, before getting the approval because the need is there.


"Ultimately we don't want people to be injecting poison into themselves and then saving their lives after they've injected poison," said Muckle. "As health care providers it doesn't make much sense and I don't think it would make much sense to anybody."


Muckle said that this trailer will be a little different from other injection sites in Ottawa, as it caters to shelter clients.


"We want to have an area for them to be able to relax after they've injected," Muckle explained. "We don't want people out wandering around in the community, particularly in the winter, when they're high."


She explained that they want to have activities that will allow them to stay inside and be safe. Officials want to encourage clients to access healthcare services and get help for issues in their lives.


The trailer is expected to be open by October 24th and they are hopeful the province will follow up with approval and funding. 


- with files from CTV Ottawa