New Overdose Prevention Sites In Ontario On Hold

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The province is hitting the pause button on opening three new overdose prevention sites aimed at fighting the opioid crisis.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says three sites were scheduled to open soon in Thunder Bay, St. Catherines and Toronto, but they are on hold as the province conducts a review of the sites and whether they actually work.

"There is some contrary evidence and that is what I'm taking a look at, I'm looking at all of the evidence to make sure that when I make a recommendation to the premier that there is going to be a good reason for it," says Elliott.

Overdose prevention sites are approved by the province and includes supervised injection.

Elliott says the reviews of the sites are mixed. "Essentially the contradictory evidence is that they are not as effective as some people think that they are, both not so much in terms of saving lives, but whether people can get into rehabilitation afterwards and that is something we want to study," she says.

The Aids Committee of Windsor and the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre submitted a joint application and the health centre says it will not comment  as it is waiting to hear the status of its application to the province.

The application from the two organizations in Windsor is for a site to be set up on Pelissier St. 

Supporters argue safe drug consumption sites can help deal with the growing problem of opioid abuse and prevent overdose deaths.

However, Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick says while he supports the community partners making the application, he won't support a safe injection site.