Guelph is about to get an overdose prevention site.
The site is expected to be open by mid-May at the Guelph Community Health Centre at 167 Wyndham Street North.
It will be open for seven hours a day, every day, and be supported by some of the area’s family doctors.
“We want to see our citizens safe,” says Ross Kirkconnell, the executive director of the Guelph Family Health Team.
We want to know that treatment options are available.”
Overdose prevention sites carry some similarities to supervised injection sites. Both are meant to give drug users a safe place to inject themselves with clean needles.
One of the key differences between the two is that while supervised injection sites are meant to be permanent, overdose prevention sites are considered temporary. The province has agreed to provide the Guelph site with $120,000 in funding – enough to keep It running for six months.
Tyler Belair, a self-described former drug addict, says he’d have likely used an overdose prevention site or supervised injection site if one had been available to him.
“I’d rather them be in a safe facility than … on the street,” he says.
Health officials say the rate of hospitalization for opioid-related issues in Guelph is above the provincial average.
The province opened applications for overdose prevention sites in January.
With reporting by Nicole Lampa