courtesy of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
The Canadian Mental Health Association – Simcoe County Branch (CMHA SCB), in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), has submitted formal applications to Health Canada for exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), and to the provincial government for funding approval, for the proposed Consumption and Treatment Services site at 11 Innisfil St. (80 Bradford St., unit 940) in Barrie.
*In Ontario, Supervised Consumption Sites (SCS) are referred to as Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS). These names refer to the same services and can be used interchangeably.
The location was chosen based on site selection criteria which included proximity to where drug use is happening, data collected through an extensive community consultation process, and final consideration by the Site Selection Advisory Committee. Barrie City Council provided endorsement for the 11 Innisfil St. (80 Bradford St., unit 940) location on May 31, 2021, as the site offers a good balance between serving clients effectively and ensuring an acceptable fit within the surrounding community.
“The submission of these two applications is a significant milestone and an important step towards establishing safe consumption and readily accessible wrap-around services for people who use drugs in the Barrie community,” said Dr. Valerie Grdisa, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch. “The opioid crisis has been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic, highlighting the critical need for low barrier access to harm reduction and treatment services.”
Although news of fatal overdoses has been overshadowed by COVID-19, the rates of opioid-related harms have further increased in Barrie during the pandemic. There were 58 opioid deaths in Barrie in 2020, more than double the 26 from 2019, and Barrie had the third-highest crude opioid mortality rate among all Ontario municipalities with at least 100,000 residents. These numbers represent community members and loved ones who may have benefited from the life-saving health services provided through a CTS site.
“While we await decisions on the applications from both Health Canada and the Ministry of Health, SMDHU and CMHA SCB will continue our engagement efforts with residents and businesses within proximity of the proposed site,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Simcoe Muskoka. “We are committed to providing ongoing and open communication during the remaining application process and throughout the operations of the site.”
A Consumption and Treatment Service site (CTS) Community Advisory Committee will be initiated to ensure ongoing opportunities for input by service users, local residents and businesses.
For more information on CTS, including the local application history, and past work of the Site Selection Advisory Committee, visit www.smdhu.org/CTS.