“Will the premier continue to bulldoze over evidence-based solutions to combating the opioids crisis, or will he support a provincially funded safe injection site for St Catharines and Niagara?” – St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens
News from Ontario’s New Democratic Party
Posted August 13th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Queen’s Park, Ontario – As communities in St. Catharines continue to have some of the highest opioid overdose deaths and as reports indicate that the riding saw a 300 per cent increase in overdoses in the last year, Jennie Stevens, Ontario NDP MPP for the riding, condemned the Conservative government’s backward priorities and urged the premier to commit to a provincially funded safe injection site for the region.
“Mayor Sendzik and St. Catharines city council unanimously called for a safe injection site for the city in January,” Stevens said. “The future of the site, like other sites in the province, is now in limbo. Does the premier support a safe injection site for St. Catharines?”
Reports by the Niagara Regional Associate Medical Officer of Health indicate that regions experiencing the highest rates of overdose coincide with those facing the highest poverty levels. Stevens called out the Ford government on their harmful clawbacks to the social service sector pushing vulnerable communities even deeper into poverty.
“This government has clawed back social assistance rates, cancelled the Basic Income Pilot Project and is promising to keep the minimum wage at poverty levels,” Stevens said.
“Will the premier continue to bulldoze over evidence-based solutions to combating the opioids crisis, or will he support a provincially funded safe injection site for St Catharines and Niagara?”
A Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
This past June, while Tories in Niagara and elsewhere in Ontario were lining up to vote a Ford government to power to cut public services, including plans for an overdose prevention site in St. Catharines, in order to pay for tax cuts, it was learned that drug overdose deaths in our region rose 90 per cent between 2016 and 2017, the latest year for which stats are now available.
“This is a staggering number,” said Welland regional councillor George Marshall, when the stats were discussed at a meeting of the Region’s public health committee this June. “If that (90 per cent increase) was the flue or the measles, we’d be screaming from the rooftops.”
Instead, all we have been hearing about this, and about the cuts to mental health care and other programs, so far from Ford supporters, amid the applause for the premier’s “buck-a-beer” crusade, is crickets.
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