Brantford to go ahead with report on consumption sites as overdose deaths soar
A motion to explore the risks and benefits of a safe consumption site in Brantford passed unanimously Wednesday.
The city is battling what it calls an opioid crisis and has seen a concerning spike in suspected overdose deaths this year, already nearing the numbers for all of 2018.
Last year, there were a total of 17, compared to 15 in the first three months of this year.
Mayor Kevin Davis says he wants to at least open a dialogue in the community, asking the health board to back his proposal to commission a report that would look at safe consumption sites, including how effective they are, their impact on neighbourhoods and the process to establish one under the new provincial model.
“That’ll be the first step toward opening a site is let’s get the conversation going about, what does this entail, who needs to be involved, what are the resources involved?” explains Brad Stark, the executive director at St. Leonard’s Community Services.
He and the Brant County medical officer, Malcolm Loch, agree that the county needs a proactive solution.
“We obviously need to be reactive to prevent people from dying and saving lives, and from a harm reduction perspective, we also need to move upstream and take a look at the causation of how people end up taking opioids in the first place,” says Loch.
Mayor Davis hopes that, once a report is commissioned and some statistics can back up findings, the community can have an informed debate to decide what’s best for the city.