“Public health experts, addictions counsellors and users have all said loud and clear – overdose prevention sites save lives.” – St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens
News from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens
Posted August 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – Ontario NDP St. Catharines MPP, Jennie Stevens, says the Ford Conservatives’ backward decision to cancel lifesaving overdose prevention sites puts the lives of vulnerable users at risk and endangers local communities.
“These sites save lives,” Stevens said. “There were over 1,200 people who overdosed last year. Those were 1,200 lives that could have been saved. Yet the deputy premier has already confirmed that no new sites will be opened despite calls for new life-saving sites in communities like St. Catharines.”
Stevens explained that professional and expert evidence is clear that overdose prevention sites save lives, connect vulnerable users to care, reduce the spread of disease and save the healthcare system money.
“This government talks a big game about consultation when it suits them but rides roughshod over public input when they know they won’t get the answer they are looking for,” Stevens said. “Public health experts, addictions counsellors and users have all said loud and clear – overdose prevention sites save lives.
They are the best way to connect users with the services they need to get their lives back on track.”
Niagara’s own Regional Associate Medical Officer of Health has indicated that regions experiencing the highest rates of overdose coincide with those facing the highest poverty levels. With the Conservative government clawing back social assistance rates, cancelling the basic income pilot and now leaving the future of overdose prevention sites in limbo, they’re not only pushing vulnerable people even deeper into poverty but putting lives in danger.
“This government must heed the advice of public health and addictions experts who can provide a huge body of evidence in support of overdose prevention sites,” Stevens demanded.
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