Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (PQWCHC) is proud of our long history of being an inclusive community health centre. For over 35 years we have been providing health and wellness services and the much-needed support services to residents of Parkdale. We have been operating a successful Harm Reduction program for almost 25 years as part of our services.
Parkdale Queen West CHC was approved to add an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) to our Parkdale location. This site was intended to offer members of the community a safe space to use, access to lifesaving medical help in reversing overdoses, and connections to other health and social services. Sadly, on the Friday prior to our scheduled Monday opening, our Centre along with two other sites in Ontario were advised by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that they were putting this program on “pause” to review evidence as to their effectiveness. This evidence has already been gathered and presented to the last government, along with substantial evidence of support from the local businesses, the police division and schools, neighbours and potential users of the service. This evidence was the basis for approval for these sites.
Toronto is in the midst of an overdose crisis. There have been over 303 opioid overdose deaths, a 63% increase in less than 2 years, and a 121% increase since 2015. Since the start of August (2nd – 12th) there have been 7 overdose-related deaths in our community. We know that members in our community would benefit from the OPS.
We are deeply disappointed that in the midst of this crisis the Ministry is not allowing the Centre to open the OPS. This service reduces costs on the health system, such as the cost for ambulance services and emergency rooms. It also reduces costs to the criminal justice system, saving precious taxpayer dollars. All the evidence agrees that OPS services save lives and is an important gateway to support, treatment and care. Part of the service is to help clean up discarded needles in our neighbourhoods, which again helps to prevent unnecessary deaths and will keep the community safer.
Please support our request to the Ministry to allow the Centre to provide this much-needed and critical service and to open the OPS site as soon as possible.
PQWCHC Board of Directors
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Overdose Prevention Services Frequently Asked Questions:
Statement from the Alliance – (former AOHC) and news regarding the recent decision to pause funding: