Overdose prevention sites – the big debate in Windsor Ontario
The conversation got louder after the first National Drug Overdose Day in Windsor Ontario. Overdose prevention sites, Supervised injection sites or in reality. DEATH prevention sites. In the Medical field we always talk about prevention, or being proactive rather than reactive with our health. If the Opiate crisis was a disease we would have we would have immediate aid similar to the SARS epidemic. If you check the Windsor Essex County Health Unit, the site gives outdated information from 2015 called the
The shocking statistics in 2015 include:
The total rate of opioid users in WEC was 18.9% greater than the provincial rate of opioid users; when compared to 49 other regions in Ontario, WEC has the 7th highest rate of opioid users.
Overdose prevention sites – what substance abuse costs Hospitals
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction,
Substance abuse is a serious and increasingly costly health issue in Canada. The cost of hospitalizing people with substance use disorders (SUDs) increased 22% over five years to $267 million in 2011 from $219 million in 2006, according to CCSA’s report on SUDs and hospital use. Alcohol was the substance most responsible, costing 54% of the total cost of SUD-related hospital stays.
An open letter has been sent to the Ministry of Health – Christine Elliott asking when the hold on Overdose Prevention sites will be removed. According to this letter they informed Minister Elliott that:
As health providers, we’ve seen first-hand the lives saved by harm reduction services. Since supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites began opening in mid-2017, they’ve already saved 917 lives by reversing overdoses. With 1,400 lives lost from opioid overdoses in Ontario since the beginning of 2017, we are starting to make a significant difference. That’s 917 families who didn’t receive the worst news possible. That’s 917 people who still have a chance to build a better life.
It should be noted that this letter was signed by 18 people in the Health and Wellness Industry. If it is about money, Minister Elliott needs to look at the cost of $38.4 billion a year that is presently being spent. The purpose of Overdose Prevention sites are to SAVE LIVES, and also reduce the costs of hospital visits.
The Chief of Police attended a USA/Canada roundtable on Opioids but will not agree to meet with a local supporter of a Windsor Overdose Prevention Site. Brandon Bailey a local addiction advocate, is vowing to open an unsanctioned site according to an article from the Windsor Star. Surprisingly the Chief of Police refused to meet with Brandon Bailey
Bailey indicated he was hopeful to sit down formally in the next week or two with the police chief to discuss his plans of opening a site.
“We want to work with police so people can feel safe they will not be arrested,” he said.
Frederick countered: “I won’t discuss this with him. This is a criminal enterprise in my opinion. There are still a lot of options open to us (on the drug overdose issue), but this would be criminal behaviour and it will not be tolerated.”
A criminal enterprise? There will be Naxalone kits there whose sole purpose is to save a life. What are Fredericks options that are open to us? How can it be considered criminal behaviour to not administer a life saving device. If you carry an epi-pen and see someone who is having an allergic reaction you would not think twice. Or the Heimlich manoeuvre if someone is choking. People are injecting themselves in a variety of places in Windsor. The Police are constantly patrolling and waking up these individuals to see if they are alive. It only makes sense to have a safe place.
The question is, when does the basic Human Rights Act come in that states:
“Every human being whose life is in peril has a right to assistance…Every person must come to the aid of anyone whose life is in peril, either personally or calling for aid, by giving him the necessary and immediate physical assistance, unless it involves danger to himself or a third person, or he has another valid reason.
And the Good Samaritan Act:
Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act. Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act protects a rescuer from any liability should they attempt to help a victim in distress. … The Good Samaritan Act ensures that fear of legal repercussion never stops someone from trying to help in an emergency.
The question in the open letter for the Minister of Health says:
“Since supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites began opening in mid-2017, they’ve already saved 917 lives by reversing overdoses,” the letter said.
“With 1,400 lives lost from opioid overdoses in Ontario since the beginning of 2017, we are starting to make a significant difference. That’s 917 families who didn’t receive the worst news possible. That’s 917 people who still have a chance to build a better life.”
We need to put more pressure on our Minister of Health, and our Premier to make sure that no more lives are lost that could have been saved.