City of Barrie seeks quick approval of Safe Drug Consumption Site (SCS)



City, County, Police, RVH, and Health Unit leaders issue joint letter under the Barrie Health Accord in full support of the Barrie SCS/CTS application

The Barrie Health Accord’s senior leadership have issued an urgent letter to all levels of government urging speedy approval of the SCS/CTS application at 11 Innisfil Street (80 Bradford Street) in the city of Barrie. The leaders signing the letter are City of Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, County Warden George Cornell, RVH President and CEO Janice Skot, Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood, and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner.

As the opioid crisis escalates, the signatories of the Accord are aware that Barrie has been disproportionally impacted by a significant raise in opioid related overdoses and deaths. The numbers paint a grim picture especially within the context of the COVID 19 pandemic – there were 58 opioid deaths in Barrie in 2020, more than double the 26 from 2019, and 85% higher than the average from 2017-2019. The crude opioid mortality rate for Barrie in 2020 was 38 deaths per 100,000 population, which was the third highest among all municipalities in Ontario with populations over 100,000 residents.

"As leaders in our community, we are joining forces to call on the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada to immediately approve the SCS/CTS application for Barrie," said Mayor Jeff Lehman. "This facility is needed immediately to prevent deaths due to poisoned drugs and help get people into treatment."

The Barrie Health Accord is committed to working with all stakeholders to focus on the long-term health of our community, a commitment that was solidified in October 2020 with all five organizations signing the 10-year agreement. In addition to supporting the application for an SCS/CTS, the Accord is also fully supporting the existing regional effort of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) and its pillar activities.