London board of health to review supervised injection site study

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The findings of a year-long study on the feasibility of supervised injection sites in London will be presented to the local board of health on Thursday evening.

Researchers released details of the report last week, recommending that a supervised injection site be set up in Old East or the downtown.

It showed 86 per cent of drug injection users surveyed would use such a facility.

READ MORE: Researchers recommend supervised injection site in Old East Village or downtown London

Coun. Jesse Helmer is the chair of the board of health and said we should start investigating injection sites further because the status quo isn’t working.

“It’s not working for the people who are injecting drugs, it’s not working for the folks who are trying to do other things and having to deal with the public impact of people injecting in the doorway, so I think that’s very clear and we need to be moving in this direction,” he said. “The question really is how, how we’re going to do it, that matters.”

Helmer feels Vancouver is a great example of how supervised sites can prevent overdose deaths.

“We’ve had dozens of overdose deaths in the city of London, and if fentanyl starts entering the market for drugs in a bigger way, which I anticipate it probably will, we will see more and more overdose deaths,” he said. “Those are preventable deaths if we have things like supervised injection services.”

Helmer said supervised injection sites have a number of advantages including offering clean needles to users, nurses to intervene in case of overdose and other health services.

Thursday’s board of health meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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