Barrie residents divided over supervised consumption site: report

A new report shows that Barrie residents are divided over whether a supervised consumption site will help the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Nearly half of Barrie residents that responded to a community consultation survey about a supervised injection site indicated that opening a facility would be helpful to the city.

According to a community consultation report, people with lived drug-use experience noted the top benefit of supervised consumption sites as lowering the risk of injury or death from drug overdose.

READ MORE: Barrie residents call for action to aid with local opioid problem

People with lived experience also indicated other benefits, including lessening the risk of developing diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C and reducing the number of used needles on streets and in parks.

Of all those surveyed who had lived experience with drug use, 98 per cent said people who use drugs would use the site.

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“Nearly two out of three general public respondents (63.4%) has concerns about having an SCS [supervised consumption site] in Barrie,” the report read.

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The top concerns for the general public, according to the report, are that a supervised injection site could encourage more drug use, more people who use drugs could frequent the neighbourhood it’s in and threaten residents’ safety.

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Community partners indicated a top benefit of the site to be the connection of people who use drugs to additional services and supports, while their top concern cited was an increase in crime, drug trafficking, and use.

READ MORE: Location identified for proposed Barrie supervised consumption site

According to the report, 49 per cent of Barrie residents indicated that opening a supervised consumption site would be helpful, while 44 per cent said it wouldn’t be and seven per cent said they were unsure.

The report, which was released by the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy, surveyed 2,039 Barrie residents, 47 people with lived drug-use experience and 24 community partners.

READ MORE: Barrie city councillors push for additional assistance in battling opioid crisis

In April, 90 Mulcaster St. was identified as a location for the supervised consumption site.

The application for the site will be presented to Barrie city council’s general committee on May 27.

It will go to council for endorsement on June 3 before being submitted to the federal and provincial governments.

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