Overdose Prevention Site Funding Announced for Kingston

Kingston is following suit with many other communities across the province to battle the opioid crisis.

An overdose prevention site will soon be set up at the Health Street Centre on Barack Street, and will be open seven days a week between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and included a $130,000 commitment for the initial six month project.

"The Ministry's approval of the OPS represents an important step in combating overdose deaths in our community," says Dr. Fareen Karachiwalla, Associate Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health.

"This service is one part of a broader strategy to address the immediate need to save lives in addition to the root causes that lead people to use substances in a harmful way."

The site will provide: supervised injection, harm reduction supplies, naloxone and the opportunity to connect with community support workers.

Kingston's death rate from opioids is higher than the provincial average.

Between January and October last year there were more than 1,000 opioid-related deaths in Ontario, 22 of those were recorded in the Kingston area.

"Our government is committed to working closely with partners across the province, including those in Kingston.  It is incumbent upon us to help reduce the growing number of opioid-related overdose deaths and combat this urgent issue," says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands.

"The staff at Street Health have made a significant impact in our community in harm reduction and this funding will ensure that their efforts are further supported-and will continue to support, the most vulnerable."

In 2016, there were more than 850 overdose deaths, close to 4500 emergency department visits and just over 1900 hospital admissions related to opioids in Ontario.

The OPS in our region represents a partnership between Kingston Community Health Centre - Street Health Centre, Frontenac Paramedic Services, HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS), and KFL&A Public Health.

"This is a unique initiative for Frontenac Paramedic Services and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the solution of a deeply rooted and complicated health care crisis in our area," says Paul Charbonneau, Chief Paramedic at Frontenac Paramedic Services.