Dear Province, #Guelph Needs This To Stay.

It needs to stay.

A few months ago many local stakeholders got together to determine what more could be done to help those in our community with the wave of the opioid crisis now on our city’s doorstep.

I want to first acknowledge those stakeholders for their care and ongoing work they do in our community. Thank you for all you do!

There are many tools in the toolbox to help those in need. From increased enforcement, a rapid access addictions centre, education on safe needle disposal, a community outreach van for assistance, counselling, mental health awareness and much much more.

But another tool was recently added to the toolbox:

An overdose prevention site.

This temporary site is fully staffed with a nurse, supportive counselling and more. To date, there has been over 1000 visits, engagement with over 150 unique individuals, 7 overdose reversals, and 2 assisted onsite medical emergencies. The opening of this site has taken away the cloak and dagger aspect of using these drugs, hiding in the shadows where there was zero opportunity for safety to those addicted, or any opportunity to build relationships to give users the ability to obtain the resources required to remove themselves from their addictions.

Recently I’ve heard that the Province is reviewing the evidence behind these sites, and that there is a risk of them being shut down prematurely.

This is wrong.

Perhaps the current location isn’t the best. Or perhaps this site may never need to be a permanent one in our community. But taking it away now, at the height of need during a crisis in our community makes no sense.

I often talk about infrastructure needs in our community. The roads, pipes, bridges and city buildings that need attention. How much more important are the lives of people in our community, that at this time in their lives need help? Taking away this site, which is their infrastructure, cannot and should not happen.

Addictions do not discriminate and we shouldn’t either.

I call upon the Province and The Minister of Health to allow this site to remain. This temporary site is an immediate response to the current crisis we’re in. We need to see this through to the end where we can establish the metrics and measure the impacts we all require, and to continue to positively change and save lives along the way.

Thank you,

Mayor Cam Guthrie


7 responses to “Dear Province, #Guelph Needs This To Stay.”

  1. Kate Avatar

    Well said Cam!!! We need this there, the opioid crisis is nothing new, it is just scary for many to realize this is happening in our community. Don’t put blinders on and pretend it’s not there, because it will be there with or without the ops. Just as it has been for so many years before this. Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. Joshua Jagt Avatar
    Joshua Jagt

    Well said.

  3. Neil Avatar

    Great to see a positive and realistic response to this from the City’s mayor. Those that complain about these sites are also the ones that demand downtown Guelph gets cleaned up. These sites are a positive way of doing this while helping save lives. Now if only the police could do something about 90 Carden Street and the blatant sales of Heroin from this location. It is so sad seeing people selling drugs meters away from the ACT clinic waving temptation in the faces of those trying to get clean.

  4. Will Avatar

    So desperately needed .. Rochelle has done an amazing job .. keep this site permanent please.

  5. Sophie Avatar

    Thank you Mayor Guthrie. This supervised consumption site is absolutely vital to members of our community. People whose lives I value. People who matter. As you mentioned, and contrary to what the Ford government suggests, these sites do offer support and referrals to folks struggling with their substance use to access treatment. But even if that weren’t the case, and even if there weren’t the myriad of other benefits of the sites such as the cost-effective nature of the program, a safe place to use means so many lives saved, and that’s worthwhile.

  6. Charlene Downey Avatar

    Agree 100%
    Prematurely ripping this site from out downtown will cost precious lives.

  7. Ted Pritchard Avatar
    Ted Pritchard

    Well said Mr. Mayor.You are standing up for constituents who have great difficulty caring for themselves. Guelph has a big problem like most cities in Ontario with how to help people with opiate addictions.We need more facilities to deal with this and help people through this, not less.Thank you.Ted Pritchard

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