Supporting London's proposed Supervised Consumption Facilities as vital community partners
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As a resident of an apartment building in close proximity to the proposed Supervised Consumption Facility to be located at 446 York Street in London, Ontario, I am in full support of the proposed social and health service to be located within my neighborhood. I am also in full support of the additional proposed fixed address site at 241 Simcoe Street inside a London Middlesex Housing Corporation building and a mobile van making stops at identified areas within the city.
These service in these locations (446 York Street, 241 Simcoe Street and the mobile van) are 100% necessary as our community grapples with the multitude of crises as a result of the opioid crisis. The identified locations are a perfect match for each neighborhood as it meets people where they are at with services that help them.
The 446 York Street location is in close vicinity to the Men's Mission where individuals will be able to access services at both the Men's Mission and the Supervised Consumption Facility and the 241 Simcoe Street location is a brilliant partnership that meets an identified community need.
Supervised Consumption Facilities recognize that those who use drugs often do so as a result of difficult life experiences, including trauma, mental health issues and so on. The premise of harm reduction through which Supervised Consumption Facilities operate acknowledges that people will use drugs but through harm reduction measures they can reduce the harms that those who use drugs might experience. These facilities will provide those who use drugs a safe place to do so, therefore, reducing discarded needles, reducing sharing of equipment (reducing health care costs as disease and illness are spread through shared equipment), providing medical care in case of overdose or emergency along with community and social supports like housing, mental health and addictions care.
These services deserve a place and space like any other social or healthcare service. Together, these services as partners in care can and will support members of our community and meet them where they are at- supporting them with resources, care and connection that everyone should have access to.
We should give the Supervised Consumption Facilities a chance- thus far the Temporary Overdose Prevention Site at 186 King Street inside Regional HIV/ AIDS Connection has had almost 3000 visits since opening on February 12th, 2018 and has only 3 overdose events but many helpful connections, and supports for clients that have come through its doors so far. This incredible work needs to continue- as it looks to only improve our community- and not take away from it.
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