Naloxone, Needle Exchange Bins Made More Available As City Pushes Back Against Opioid Crisis

Pilot Projects Not Funded From Tax Base

City Hall is taking another approach in its fight against the ongoing opioid crisis.

At Monday night’s meeting, council rubberstamped a decision to increase the number of needle exchange bins across the city, and start making Naloxone available at many of city-owned facilities.

In an effort to support the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy, City council voted to make the overdose suppressing drug Naloxone available within the same location that defibrillators are already installed. “Naloxone, we know, saves lives,” said Councillor Natalie Harris, “and the more access we have will make it so that more lives are saved.” The nasal spray halts the effects of opioids long enough to get life-saving medical attention.

City Hall will also implement several needle exchange bins within city parks or parking lots, on top of the containers already located within many park washrooms.

Both these projects, at a cost of $15,000 for the naloxone and $30,000 for the needle bins, would operate on a pilot basis and would be funded from the city’s Strategic Priorities Reserve. “If we’re going to prevent people from going to the hospital, we’re going to reduce costs in that sense, so it’s definitely a worthwhile cost, I think,” added Harris.

“There’s a lot more that needs to be done,” Councillor Harris told Barrie 360, “this is just the beginning; there’s a lot more recommendations to come forward, but it’s a good start.”

The two pilot projects were among a list of recommended moves the City voted to take, that includes using city resources to promote the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy website, continuing to provide naloxone training to downtown businesses, and calling on the Attorney General’s Office to support higher penalties for those convicted of participating in the opioid trade.