The Ontario government announced on Oct. 22, 2018 that overdose prevention sites will continue to operate in Ontario, however, will be replaced by “Consumption and Treatment Services,” which will have a new application process and standards.
CMHA Ontario welcomes this news, as we believe that overdose prevention sites provide fundamental health services for vulnerable communities and are part of a full array of comprehensive addictions services.
Consumption and Treatment Services sites will continue to feature life-saving overdose prevention and harm-reduction services. Each site will have a new enforcement and audit protocol, and will focus on long-term goals of connecting individuals to treatment services. Organizations applying would also need to provide connections to primary care, mental health, housing and employment services
Additional information about the proposed changes include:
- No more than 21 sites can apply to operate under this new model.
- It is anticipated that approved sites could begin to transition to the new model beginning in January 2019, with all approved sites expected to be in place by April 2019
- The Government of Ontario is also planning to expand access to addiction treatment services by creating more withdrawal management services in high need communities.
- Existing sites could apply to continue operating under the planned new model.
- Before and after each site is selected, consultations would be held and sites would also need to have a plan in place to ensure community concerns are addressed on an ongoing basis.
Recent data shows that the harms related to opioids does not appear to be slowing down. There were at least 1,261 deaths due to opioids in Ontario in 2017, up from 856 opioid related deaths in 2016. Data shows that every day an average of three people die in the province due to opioids and overdose deaths to increase across Ontario.
 Public Health Ontario. Opioid-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Ontario. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/dataandanalytics/pages/opioid.aspx