Supervised Consumption Service Opening March 16th, 2018


March 15, TORONTO – On March 5, Health Canada informed Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre that it has fulfilled all of the requirements and passed the inspection required to operate a supervised consumption service at the Queen West site located at 168 Bathurst St under exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). This integrated SCS will be located within the existing Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, in an area of the City where service users and the community agree that the service is much needed. The SCS is scheduled to open on March 16, 2018.

The Health Canada approval comes amidst a growing overdose crisis in the city of Toronto, and after years of extensive research and consultation with community members, service users, local organizations, and government partners. The number of people dying from overdose grew from 135 in 2015 to 179 in 2016; an increase of 33% and this crisis is made worse by the ongoing criminalization, stigmatization and neglect of people who use drugs. Toronto’s SCSs offer safe, supportive, non-judgmental, clean and welcoming spaces that provide an essential healthcare service for people who use drugs.

“This is an important achievement for harm reduction advocates as this service is a key element in the broader overdose response strategy and we are proud to be an ally with those who have lost friends, relatives and community members to the overdose crisis”, said Angela Robertson, Executive Director of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre.  “A supervised consumption service (SCS) in our health Centre enables us to support people who use drugs, many who are highly stigmatized and marginalized from health services. We are proud to join the community of others SCS providers in this city and across the country in providing a proactive public health service response to a growing public health concern.”

Supervised Consumption Services benefit both the people who use them as well as the communities they are in.  “What we’re hoping to demonstrate is that SCSs make everyone safer. SCSs reduce drug overdoses, save lives, limit the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, connect service users to essential health and social services and improve public safety by reducing public injecting and discarded needles. Proper needle disposal means children are less likely to find used needles on their way to school and the presence of medical staff at SCSs mean somebody’s loved one can live to see another day” said Lorraine Barnaby, Supervised Consumption Service Manager.

PQWCHC has provided harm reduction services for 20 years and operates the third largest harm reduction program in Toronto by providing care to over 3,000 individuals, distributing almost 300,000 sterile needles.

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