Supervisor of Guelph safe consumption site confident Windsor facility will be a success

Proposed supervised consumption site at 628 Goyeau St in Windsor, Ont., on Jan.13, 2022. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)

The supervisor of a safe consumption and treatment facility in Guelph is chiming on Windsor's plan to put one in the downtown core.

Lindsey Sodtke says the Guelph site has been in place since 2018 and has proven to be a big success seeing as many as 5,400 visits each year helping thousands of clients get the help they need.

As heard on AM800 earlier this week, in a narrow 6-5 vote, city council gave the green light for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to host a facility at 628 Goyeau St.

Sodtke says she understands the concerns some community members may have.

"If you don't have first hand knowledge of addictions and what this service is all about, it's very easy to sort of fill in the blanks and make assumptions, unfortunately, about what a service like this might entail," says Sodtke.  "People may feel worried and especially if they don't have direct experience with addictions."

She says residents are able to tour her facility to see what it's all about.

"We invited folks in to see the space, to see that it is a clinical health care service and that addiction needs to be treated like any other health condition," she says. "So I think that really helped then for community members to get to see what the space looked like and then to have their concerns addressed."

Sodtke says the site in Guelph has received plenty of positive feedback.

"We have a vibrant downtown with many businesses who have been here for years before the CTS arrived and continue to be here," says Sodtke.  "Their experience has been that there's a reduction in improperly discarded needles and that there's a decrease in the concerns that they're seeing because folks have a safe place to go now."

With council's approval, the local health unit will now send its application to Health Canada and the provincial government with a goal of having the site up and running by the end of 2022.

— with files from AM800's Kathie McMann