Ontario’s first temporary overdose prevention site (TOPS) will open its doors Monday in London.
The site, located at the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection at 186 King St., is already home to the Counterpoint Needle and Syringe Program, which sees about 100 clients a day.
“There is construction still happening, as well as ordering supplies and other materials,” said Shaya Dhinsa, manager of sexual health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “We’ve just completed orientation for staff around policies and procedures and security measures.”
Days before the location of the site was announced, London police announced three deaths and two hospitalizations in the span of a weekend from suspected drug overdoses.
“It’s very timely for us to open a temporary overdose prevention site,” Dhinsa said.
By taking the necessary precautions, Dhinsa believes the site should significantly decrease the risk of an overdose.
Although the site is only temporary, Dhinsa said it offers a great opportunity to learn what they need to take into consideration when they open something permanent.
“We’re also looking at an evaluation process. I think that’s key,” she said. “Are there benefits? What are they? What are the concerns and how can we address them as we move along?”
Dhinsa adds they want to hear feedback from the community.