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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Plan for Local Supervised Consumption Facilities Receives Provincial Support

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and Regional HIV / AIDS Connection (RHAC) have received letters of support from the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to establish two Supervised Consumption Facilities (SCFs) in London. The provincial support includes letters detailing capital and operational funding, and a letter of support for the establishment of SCFs from Minister Helena Jaczek, all of which are required for the Health Canada application process.  

In the next phases of this project, MLHU and RHAC will continue to have dialogue with the residents and businesses neighbouring these sites. The proposed sites would be located at 446 York Street and 241 Simcoe Street, and would provide a place for those who have obtained drugs to consume them under the supervision and care of trained medical professionals and skilled harm reduction workers. The facility would also include an after-care area, where clients could interact with staff from community supports and services, including, counselling, treatment, and housing.  

“While this is an important step in the process, we value the community’s input and feedback,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “We’ve already started the conversation and look forward to the discussions that will follow in the coming weeks and months.”

Next steps include obtaining federal approval, as well as municipal zoning and permits. Health Canada has so far approved exemptions for eight permanent Ontario sites, allowing for the creation of four permanent SCFs in Toronto and four in Ottawa.  

“The locations we’ve identified are close to services needed by people caught in the cycle of drug addiction; they are also located in areas that respondents to the feasibility study said they would use,” says Brian Lester, Executive Director at Regional HIV / AIDS Connection.  

No timeline has been set for the opening of London’s Supervised Consumption Facilities, however it is expected to take several months to complete the application review, the City of London zoning process, prepare the space, and hire staff.  

The Temporary Overdose Prevention Site at 186 King Street continues to provide supervised consumption services in downtown London. The temporary site is considered a success, with almost 3000 visits by nearly 700 unique clients to date, only three overdoses, and a generally positive impact on the neighbourhood.

Media Contact:

Elizabeth Milne
Executive Assistant to the Board of Health and Communications
T: 519-663-5317 ext 2448  C: 519-617-0564
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