Dear Neighbours,

Overdose is not something we talk about often, but it is a serious public health issue. Hundreds of people are dying in our city each year due to overdose – and these are preventable deaths. We are writing to you today to give you comprehensive information regarding a public health initiative in our community that will save lives and make our communities safer. We are also inviting you to attend our second public meeting on this on Monday June 20, 7pm at the Trinity Community Recreation Centre (155 Crawford Street).

See also:
Frequently Asked Questions
June 20 Community Meeting Notice
April 14 Community Meeting Notice

On Monday March 14, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, announced next steps for public health promotion in our city with the recommendation to introduce small-scale, nurse supervised injection services within existing medical facilities in Toronto. The Board of Health approved a public consultation process on March 21, 2016. We held a public meeting on April 14, 2016 and numerous open houses throughout April, as well as conducting a city-wide survey. We are now holding a second public meeting on Monday June 20 and we hope you can attend.

Three sites – Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, Toronto Public Health-The Works, and South Riverdale Community Health Centre – will be applying for Federal exemptions to operate nurse supervised injection services in their communities. Nurse supervised injection services already exist in other major cities. These services will add to the range of initiatives currently underway to address the growing overdose crisis in our city which include prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement.

The Queen West Health Centre is located at Bathurst Street and Richmond Street and has been a part of our neighbourhood for decades. It is home to many medical offices, counselling services, community programs, and harm reduction services. As part of their harm reduction services, Queen West currently operates a needle exchange program where users can pick up clean needles and return used ones.

Queen West, along with other health centres, is asking the Federal Government for permission to set up three small, nurse supervised booths within their health centre where users would inject pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of a nurse. This would allow the nurse to provide clean supplies, education on safer injection, overdose prevention and intervention, medical and counselling services, and referrals to drug treatment, housing, income support and other services.

Nurse supervised injection services, even ones as small as the one being proposed at the Queen West Health Centre, will help prevent deaths due to overdose and reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. It will also make our communities safer by reducing issues such as public injecting and discarded needles.

Contact us any time if you have any questions.

Mike Layton
City Councillor, Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina
councillor_layton@toronto.ca | (416) 392-4009

Joe Cressy
City Councillor, Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina
councillor_cressy@toronto.ca | (416) 392-4044