Ottawa’s first 24/7 supervised injection site to open
Ottawa's first round-the-clock supervised injection site is set to open soon.
The site is in a renovated mobile trailer located in the parking lot of Shepherds of Good Hope.
The timing on this trailer couldn't be more critical. Just next door, at Shepherds, there were 10 overdoses in 12 hours. This is the front-line attack in what has now become a war. This is what it's come to in a desperate attempt to save lives: a trailer with 8 injection pods that Ottawa Inner City Health is set to open next door to Shepherds of Good Hope.
“When they're ready to inject, they press the button here,” says Wendy Muckle, the executive director of Ottawa Inner City Health, as she gives media a tour, “Given we've had 10 overdoses in this building in last 24 hours, having a safe place where we can take care of them, it will safe people’s lives and give them opportunity to be healthier in the future.”
With areas to inject, nurses to watch them and places to wait afterwards, this trailer will be able to handle up to 150 people a day.
There are 8 injection pods altogether and room for more to wait and indications are that they will. With so many overdoses and so many dangerous drugs out there, the community is scared and they want a safe place to inject.
Deirdre Freiheit is the CEO and President of Shepherds of Good Hope, “That's why we need this service now for those who aren't ready to be in an abstinence-based program but we have to help them one way or another. We're not going to allow them to be out on the streets by themselves, we don't want them to die.”
This will be the city's first round the clock supervised site. Ottawa Public Health opened a small site on Clarence Street recently with limited hours and Sandy Hill Community Centre just got funding to proceed with its permanent supervised site.
The pop-up site at Raphael Brunet Park continues to operate despite the cold. The province has offered to help winterize a similar set up in Toronto. Ottawa's mayor says no one called the city to ask that it make a formal request as well.
“What we did was put the emphasis on legal permitted use at Shepherds and Clarence and Cumberland and the one at Sandy Hill.
Those working in the field hope that be enough to stop the carnage on the streets. But that all depends on what drugs are on the streets. This trailer is still a temporary measure for the winter. The plan is to move it inside Shepherds once some space is secured to make it a permanent fixture.