Toronto upset after Ontario halts funding for safe injection sites
Ontario has left some safe injection sites in limbo this weekend as their funding was cut and they now have to turn to public donation.
Amid a growing opioid epidemic that killed 1,200 Ontarians in 2017 alone, the Ford government announced it would only fund six injection sites in the city, leaving three currently in operation without approval.
Closing safe injections sites will put people at risk of death. The decision by the Ford government to close three sites in Toronto is cruel & disgraceful. The people responsible for this decision should be ashamed, but I doubt they have the capacity to feel shame.#topoli #onpoli— Alan Harris 🇨🇦 (@AlanWharris) March 29, 2019
In response, the federal government stepped in to give a one-month reprieve to two of the sites. However, following the end of that one-month period, they will have to rely on public donation. A third site is without reprieve.
The province approved 15 sites across Ontario, including six in Toronto. This leaves six in the province without funding and facing a forced closure.
Critics and public health officials have decried the move, outraged that the sites are closing amid a health crisis.
Things I wish were April's Fools jokes in Ontario:— Ian Mosbγ (@Ian_Mosby) April 1, 2019
- defunding of safe injection sites
- provincial opposition to any meaningful climate action
- lack of meaningful action re: mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows, Wabasemoong & Wabauskang
- gutting of Ontario education system
Many harm reduction workers and healthcare workers have been quick to point out that the opioid epidemic is reaching crisis levels, and the province should be opening new safe injection sites, not closing or capping the existing ones.
We are in the midst of the defining health crisis of our time. Our message to Premier Ford and Minister Elliott – overdose deaths are preventable. Closing these essential health services will result in more deaths. We need to scale up these services, not cut them. pic.twitter.com/4bE3kTkxOd— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) April 1, 2019
City councillors like Kristyn Wong-Tam called the move "wrong," and former mayor David Miller had a stronger choice of words.
not just wrong. Evil. https://t.co/Le3aiAAyKL— David Miller T.O. (@iamdavidmiller) March 30, 2019
Data and several studies show that safe injection sites work to prevent overdoses, reducing the number of deaths. The most recent reports show the first half of 2018 seeing 600 deaths in Ontario, well on track to match or surpass 2017.
About 900 people EACH week, visit just one of Toronto's Safe Injection Sites #publichealth #HarmReduction #OntarioPublicHealth #ontariohealth #Toronto #Ontario #warondrugsnotworking #addiction https://t.co/7ZtWQSckBf— Jeff Faulkner (@FaulknerJeff) March 29, 2019
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