August 14, 2017
In response to the increasing overdoses and overdose-related deaths in the community, Toronto Public Health will soon open an interim supervised injection service. This interim site is intended to provide immediate services while work is completed to open the City's permanent supervised injection site this fall. Supervised injection services are health services that provide a safer and hygienic environment for people to inject pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of qualified staff.
"In response to this issue, and in partnership with our community, we will be opening an interim overdose prevention service in the short term until the permanent facility opens," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "Each of these overdoses, whether fatal or not, represents a son, a daughter, a family member or a friend. This issue is having a devastating impact on people who use drugs, their families, friends and many others who work tirelessly to provide intervention and support for people in crisis."
Between 2004 and 2015 there was a 73 per cent increase in overdose deaths in Toronto.
Supervised injection services are part of Toronto's Overdose Action Plan. Other actions in this plan include educating people about how to recognize an opioid overdose and how to respond, including administering the lifesaving medicine naloxone. Since early June, Toronto Public Health has trained over 700 staff from six City divisions and over 250 community agencies, and since January has distributed over 1,000 naloxone kits to people who use drugs.
The Toronto Overdose Action Plan: Prevention and Response report was adopted by the Board of Health in March 2017 and is available at http://www.ow.ly/Njuf30e98js.
Signs of an opioid overdose include breathing that is slow or has stopped, unresponsiveness or inability to wake up and dilated pupils. If an overdose is suspected, please call 911.
Naloxone saves lives. More information on where naloxone kits are available: http://www.bit.ly/2w3IWSp.
This news release is also available on the City's website: http://ow.ly/cbKy30ep87e.
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