Mississauga’s Cooksville area considered for first supervised drug consumption site

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Published July 7, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Cooksville in Mississauga and downtown Brampton are two areas being considered for Peel’s first supervised drug consumption site.

A supervised consumption site, where drug users would be monitored in a safe and non-judgemental environment, has been proposed and considered by the Region following reports of a major increase in opioid-related deaths in Mississauga and Brampton.

A report presented to Regional Council today (July 7) made multiple recommendations for where the first supervised drug consumption site should be established, based on the concentration of where drug overdose deaths are happening:

  • Downtown Brampton
  • Cooksville, Mississauga
  • Mobile sites to service less densely populated areas of the Region, based on need and capacity

The consumption sites would provide a space for substance users to be monitored by health professionals, who would carry and administer lifesaving medications such as naloxone in the event of an overdose.

The sites are being planned in partnership with Moyo Health and Community Services (formerly the Peel
HIV/AIDS Network), which for over two decades has provided health promotion, education, social and support services for people affected by HIV.

The report indicates that opioid-related deaths continue to rise, with 654 deaths reported from 2017 to 2021.

Adults between the ages of 25 to 44 are primarily impacted.

“The increasingly toxic drug supply in Peel has led to a dramatic increase in deaths due to fentanyl and fentanyl analogues,” says the report by Nancy Polsinelli, Commissioner of Health Services and Kate Bingham, Acting Medical Officer of Health.

“For over half of opioid-related deaths in Peel in 2021, there was no one present at the time of the incident who could intervene (e.g., administer naloxone – the medication used to reverse the effects of opioids, call 911). Even when others are present to intervene in an overdose, people who use substances are often reluctant to call 911.”

It’s believed that for every fatal overdose, there are approximately 20-30 non-fatal overdoses.

A number of local residents spoke during the Regional Council meeting today to share their personal experiences with drug use in Peel, including residents who have had family members pass away because they did not have access to help or a safe location for consumption.

There was some discussion and debate among councillors over where the supervised consumption sites should be located. There was a general consensus that the sites should be accessible to those who need them the most, but should be located away from schools and other child centres.

Staff will move forward in identifying the most suitable location for the first supervised consumption site, and is expected to report back to Regional Council with its findings in the next few months.

Canada has had supervised consumption services, commonly called safe injection sites, since 2003. There are close to 40 nationwide, including 22 in Ontario.

Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener and Toronto each have at least one supervised consumption site.

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