Sudbury takes major step to curb overdose deaths

Reseau Access Network executive director Richard Rainville says people who work in harm reduction are now calling supervised consumption sites, death prevention sites. June 30/21 (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)

A supervised consumption site in Sudbury is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Council has unanimously approved $1.1 million in operational funding to for a temporary site to help deal with the city's opioid crisis.

The plan is to set-up three trailers insude Energy Court on city owned land as a temporary supervised consumption site.

"Whether it's our responsibility or the province's these people who have a drug problem actually need our help,” said Ward 5 councillor Robert Kirwan.

“And I am hoping that they will access some of the services through this supervised injection site that will help get to the root of the social determinants of health that drove them there in the first place."

City council was willing to commit the money as it considers the issue to be a big priority.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen approximately 160 deaths in our community to the opioid crisis. We don't want to see another death in this city from an overdose. So we as council decided to move quick on this," said said Ward 11 councillor Bill Leduc.

The Reseau Access Network, a non-profit, community-based charitable organization, committed to promoting wellness, harm and risk reduction and education, will be the lead service provider with a multidisciplinary team staffing the site.

"We certainly hear from folks ‘are we facilitating people having access to drugs?’ And the answer is no. All we are doing is providing a place where people can use their own drugs in a safe way where they are supervised by people who can support them in their work and assure that people aren't overdosing," said Richard Rainville, the executive director of the Reseau Access Network.

Rainville added that people who work in harm reduction are now calling supervised consumption sites, death prevention sites.