Toronto will soon follow Vancouver’s lead in establishing safe injection sites, allowing addicts to use intravenous drugs with clean equipment under the care of medical staff.
While critics argue it’s a move that will only attract dealers and other criminal activity to the area, proponents say it makes the situation safer for everyone involved and makes it easier for drug users to seek help to treat and try to beat their addictions.
The recent Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment report concluded that there was a 77 per cent increase in reported deaths by overdose in Toronto between 2004 and 2014; up from 146 in 2004 to 258 in 2014.
By a 36-3 vote, city councillors voted to open safe injection sites in neighbourhoods hardest hit by the issue.
Pending federal government approval and provincial funding, sites will open in the Toronto Public Health building on Victoria Street, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre on Bathurst Street and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre on Queen Street East.
City councillors Joe Mihevc and Joe Cressy, two of the motion’s loudest advocates on council, hope to start opening these sites by some time in 2017.