Barrie supervised consumption site applications submitted to province, feds

Applications have been submitted to Health Canada and to the Ontario government for Barrie‘s supervised consumption site, which is proposed to be set up at 11 Innisfil St.

The federal application is for an exemption under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the provincial application is for funding approval.

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The Innisfil Street location was chosen based on various criteria, including proximity to where drug use is happening, data collected through a community consultation process and final consideration by an advisory committee.

“The submission of these two applications is a significant milestone and an important step towards establishing safe consumption and readily accessible wrap-around services for people who use drugs in the Barrie community,” Valerie Grdisa, the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Simcoe County branch (CMHA SCB), said in a statement.

“The opioid crisis has been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic, highlighting the critical need for low barrier access to harm reduction and treatment services.”

During the pandemic, opioid-related harms have increased in Barrie.

There were 58 opioid deaths in Barrie in 2020, more than double the 26 from 2019. Barrie also had the third highest crude opioid mortality rate among all Ontario municipalities, with at least 100,000 residents.

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“While we await decisions on the applications form both Health Canada and the ministry of health, (the health unit) and CMHA, SCB will continue our engagement efforts with residents and businesses within proximity of the proposed site,” Dr. Lisa Simon, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s associate medical officer of health, said in a statement.

“We are committed to providing ongoing and open communication during the remaining application process and throughout the operations of the site.”

Barrie city council endorsed the proposed location on May 31.

A consumption and treatment service site community advisory committee will be set up to ensure input from service users, local residents and businesses.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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