City council has voted to endorse the opioid working group. Medical officer for the Middlesex-London health unit, Dr. Christopher Mackie, helped council members understand that while supervised consumption sites will not solve the drug crisis, it will offer them a starting point from which they can continue to build off of.
Dr. Mackie says that “it sends that message to the people on the street that our community cares about you and wants to work with you.” Which is a welcomed change for those who have struggled to have faith in a system they feel fails them. He also says that “it’s a great opportunity to connect… with other resources like housing or rehab that are going to really help them get back on track.”
A supervised consumption site will offer those in need with a safe environment that offers clean equipment, a nurse who can administer naloxone if needed; who will ensure that drugs are injected safely and a chill room.
Dr. Mackie says that “a chill room is a place for someone who has used drugs can be while they go through their high rather than just emptying them out straight onto the street… if someone is getting high and immediately out on the street they’re very vulnerable to physical or other forms of abuse, they’re also very vulnerable to drug dealers…”
At this point, the opioid working group’s focus is to provide public consultation on what supervised consumption is. Dr. Mackie says that they use the term consumption because it’s “…. a broader term, we don’t want people to have to choose the riskiest possible way of taking drugs, that is injection, in order to use this sort of facility.”
He instills that “we will not arrest our way out of the problem” and hopes that in time we can move away from the negative stigmas attached to addictions.