Feasibility study recommends safe injection site for London

A new feasibility study is recommending the implementation of a safe injection site for London, located either downtown and/or in the Old East Village.

Results of the Ontario Safe Injection Site Survey were released Wednesday morning.

A safe injection site would allow intravenous drug addicts to use under safe conditions, including on-site medical professionals and sterile needles.

The study also concluded that services should be integrated within existing centres that can provide “wrap-around” support to people who use drugs including addictions treatment, primary health care and housing.

The study questioned 199 drug users who shot up over the past six months.

Participants were asked about their drug habits and about their willingness to use safe injection sites.

Sixty-five percent of participants reported injecting drugs daily and 72 percent shot up in public in the previous six months.

As a result, 86 percent of participants were willing to use a supervised injection services if it was available.

Although drug users weren't the only ones consulted for the study.

Twenty community members (including police, emergency services, healthcare, business, etc.) were also a part of the study.

It found that the stakeholders unanimously saw positive benefits of a safe injection site.

Although there were concerns raised on the concentration of services in a single area, and the inclusion of other health and social services to the site.

“It’s encouraging to see people who inject drugs and a diverse range of stakeholders in London supporting the need for supervised injection services,” says principal investigator Dr. Thomas Kerr.

In 2014, more than 2.5 million clean needles were distributed throughout London for drug users, second only to Vancouver.