241 Simcoe St. and 446 York St. - the proposed sites for permanent supervised drug consumption facilities in London. Photo from Google Street View.

Supervised Drug Consumption Sites Gain Provincial Support

The application process to establish two supervised drug consumption sites in London has cleared another hurdle after receiving support from the province.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit and the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) have received letters of support from Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Helena Jaczek, as well as details about capital and operation funding for the sites.  Both conditions were required as part of the application process with Health Canada.

Going forward, the health unit and RHAC will continue to have a dialogue with local residents and businesses near the proposed sites at 446 York St. and 241 Simcoe St.

“The locations we’ve identified are close to services needed by people caught in the cycle of drug addiction. They are also located in areas that respondents to the feasibility study said they would use,” said Brian Lester, the executive director at RHAC.

Supervised consumption sites provide a place for people with addictions can consume narcotics under the supervision and care of medical professionals. There would also be aftercare and interaction with staff who can provide clients with information regarding counselling, treatment, and housing.

In what is considered a largely symbolic gesture, London city council endorsed the two proposed locations last week.

The application process still requires federal approval as well as municipal zoning permits. The health unit said it is expected to take several months to complete the application process and have the two sites up and running.