Over­dose pre­ven­tion site to open in De­cem­ber

The Niagara Falls Review - - Front Page - AL­LAN BEN­NER

Pos­i­tive Liv­ing Ni­a­gara ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Glen Walker hopes to fi­nally open the doors of St. Catharines’ over­dose pre­ven­tion site next month, af­ter months of de­lay.

He said there a few el­e­ments of the fa­cil­ity yet to fall into place since a re­view of the site’s plan was com­pleted by the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in late Oc­to­ber.

“But if all goes well, we should be look­ing at some sort of a De­cem­ber open­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to the pro­gram planned for Pos­i­tive Liv­ing Ni­a­gara’s of­fices at 120 Queen­ston St.

“As soon as I get more de­tails as far as a solid date, I’ll cer­tainly reach out to peo­ple to let them know what we’re do­ing,” he said.

The opi­oid over­dose pre­ven­tion site was pre­vi­ously ap­proved for St. Catharines by the for­mer Lib­eral pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, to help ad­dress the grow­ing num­ber of fen­tanyl over­doses oc­cur­ring in the re­gion and par­tic­u­larly in St. Catharines.

That plan was put on hold in Au­gust by the Tories, to give the re­cently elected pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment an op­por­tu­nity to re­view the ef­fec­tive­ness of such fa­cil­i­ties.

Although the Min­istry of Health later gave pre­vi­ously ap­proved fa­cil­i­ties the green­light to pro­ceed, the prov­ince said the sites must also in­clude a fo­cus on treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices.

Walker said the sites are now re­quired to have “all th­ese dif­fer­ent con­nec­tions and ser­vices,” lead­ing to a “much more in­te­grated model.”

But Walker said plans for the lo­cal over­dose pre­ven­tion site al­ready in­cluded sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives.

“Al­most all the sites in the prov­ince were of­fer­ing some­thing very sim­i­lar to what the min­istry has ac­tu­ally come out with,” he said.

Walker said de­tails about fund­ing for the sites “isn’t re­ally well laid out.”

The prov­ince, how­ever, is ex­pected to roll out more de­tails about its plan for fund­ing in the spring.

“We’re just try­ing to jump through a few more hoops be­fore we get go­ing, but we’re hop­ing we’ll see things hap­pen­ing in De­cem­ber,” Walker said.

St. Catharines’ over­dose pre­ven­tion site was ini­tially to be opened in Septem­ber — be­fore be­ing put on hold — and run for a six-month pe­riod be­fore be­ing re­placed with a per­ma­nent pro­gram.

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