Health Minister suggests Windsor not lose hope on safe injection site

Injection drug equipment file photo courtesy of Lawson Health Research Institute.

Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is telling Windsor residents there is still a possibility it will get a safe injection site.

Christine Elliott was in London last week to talk about a possible safe injection site there that was initially rejected.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is expected to front an application for a safe injection site in the city, although another organization may operate it, and Elliott told Windsor is still under consideration.

“Well, we’re still reviewing applications,” she said. “There’s still five more centres to be located.”

The government is considering a list of criteria including geographic location, need, and whether the community supports it.

“That is really important,” she continued. “Both in respect to elected representatives and the people who live in the neighbourhood. We have to make sure that they are amenable to having a consumption treatment services site there.”

One opponent of the sites is Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick, who fears crime will increase near a local centre.

“I cannot trade someone’s safety in order that someone may inject drugs safely,” he told reporters earlier this month.

The health unit launched a survey last fall to gauge public reaction. It closed in December.

Meanwhile, Windsor has a safe injection site, of sorts. The Windsor Overdose Prevention Society set up a mobile site last month.