London looks to get ahead of debate over supervised injection sites with review of zoning rules

File photo of an injection kit.
File photo of an injection kit. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

As London awaits approval from Health Canada to set up a supervised injection site, city hall is getting ready.

READ MORE: London politicians refer opioid crisis working group back to committee

City politicians gave their support Tuesday night at a full council meeting to a request from Downtown London and the Old East Village BIA to investigate how a supervised injection site will differ from a clinic under zoning bylaws.

Ward 13 Coun. Tanya Park, who represents the downtown, supported the review.

READ MORE: Climbing HIV rates prompt Middlesex-London Health Unit to expand needle program

“I think that this is a prudent way to move forward. If and when supervised injection sites become a thing in London I think it’s really incumbent upon us to make sure we place them in appropriate areas,” said Park.

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“This will be a sensitive use and to have it adjacent to another sensitive use is not exactly appropriate. I look at this as us getting ahead of a potential issue with planned usages.”

Last summer, the Middlesex-London Health Unit declared injection drug use as a public health emergency.

Between the health unit, My Sisters’ Place, and the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection in London, 3-million needles and syringes were distributed in 2016; that’s an increase from 2.7-million in 2015, 2.3-million in 2014, and 1.8-million in 2013.

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