Create safe spaces for youth in Barrie

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        Simcoe-Muskoka's opioid crisis has gone on for too long. Since 2004, "the rates of visits to the emergency department for opioid overdoses in Simcoe-Muskoka are significantly higher than the provincial rate" (Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, 2017); 
        "The total number of opioid-related deaths in 2014 exceeded the number of people killed in motor vehicle collisions in Ontario" (Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Annual Report 2016 / 2017). "Close to one in 10 Simcoe Muskoka students say they have used opioid pain pills to get high in the past year" (Simcoe Muskoka Health Stats, 2017). "Approximately one in five say that it would be very or fairly easy for them to get opioids without a prescription" (Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, 2017). These are only some of the devasting statistics of the opioid crisis that our community is facing. It is common for youth to mistrust adults and authority (Jaggs, 1998) therefore, we are requesting help from our community, in the form of volunteers, resources, and brainstorming. Youth have identified their environment as the main cause of substance abuse as well as the minimal supports available (Youth voice, 2012). Simcoe-Muskoka has been hitting the headlines for the crisis for years now, our political leaders are aware and although they have made strides not enough has been done. Along with volunteers, we are asking for a small portion of the funding from the $1.65 million dollars provided to the Simcoe-Muskoka LHIN, be put towards a safe place for youth, run by youth and survivors. 
        Barrie's Teen Centre is a consumer/survivor initiative, entirely operated by consumer/survivors enabling, volunteer positions, skills and leadership development, peer support, and a safe place for youth who are using substances to go to along with, recreational activities & find information for services and supports available (Schragge, 2013). 
         The Centre is based on the following principles of harm reduction & the community-based model:
a) Accessible services.
b) Empowerment of individuals & communities.
c) Wellness & illness prevention.
d) Holistic care.
e) seeking partnerships with other community agencies. (Jaggs, 1998, p.26; Schragge, 2013).


Concerned members of Simcoe-Muskoka community