Fall Newsletter, 2018

OPS Staff at entrance


We have devoted the cover page of our Fall Newsletter to a discussion about our onsite Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), written by Kelly White, the site coordinator. It is both timely and essential that we pinpoint the narrative around the need for safe-injection sites to focus on the fact that people are dying. Right here in Toronto, 307 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017.

It is not uncommon that whenever a homeless shelter is opened, or even suggested, homeowners living in the surrounding area raise objections. Even residents who agree in principle that more should be done to help homeless or vulnerable people would still prefer that a shelter not be located so close to their homes. The same has proven true across Canada in the case of safe-injection sites. These sites, a direct response to the opioid overdose crisis that is killing people and ravaging communities, are usually located in the areas where they are needed most. Toronto EMS statistics declare Dundas & Sherbourne (where we are located) as the epicenter of overdose calls for the entire city. Since opening our OPS here at Street Health in June 2018, our focus has been on providing a safe, supervised space for people to use without the increasing risk of overdose or death.