WECHU Names Potential Safe Consumption and Treatment Sites for Opioid Users

am800-news-opioid-safe-consumption-site-windsor-june-17-2021

Potential locations have been identified for a safe consumption and treatment site for opioid users in downtown Windsor, Ont.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced it's narrowed its search to two vacant buildings on the southeast corner of Wyandotte Street East at Goyeau Street Thursday.

While community input gathered in 2018 shows 61 per cent of residents are in favour of a safe consumption site, an online survey has now been launched to get feedback on the specific locations until July 2.

Health unit CEO Theresa Marentette says people are already using drugs in the area, so the impact on the community will be positive.

"There's access to social services, to mental health and addictions, to primary care, housing and all of those supports," She says. "We feel it is ideally located," say Marentette, who adds the site will move drug use off the streets and offer a safe environment to reduce overdoses.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Rob Moroz says a major focus of a safe consumption site is to create the opportunity to get people off drugs.

"We're only a block away and I think that a lot of those services for addictions and mental health will be readily available to those people who may want to get on the service options," he added.

Barry Horbin is the Director of Planning and Physical Resources for Windsor Police Service.

He says both addresses have been vetted.

"At the distances as you move away from the surroundings of the possible sites to make sure public safety is maintained thoroughly and that we can deliver services appropriately in that regard," he says.

According to the health unit, opioid overdoses jumped from 249 to 348 from 2019 to 2020 with overdose deaths rising from 48 to 64 over the same period.

The health unit hopes to have feedback from all stakeholders by the end of July and be ready to present a location to city council by the fall.

If the council approves a site, it will still need to go to the province for final approval.

A link to the survey can be found at www.wecoss.ca.