By Chantelle Archambault, March 13th, 2018 in
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brampton, ON – Peel HIV/AIDS Network (PHAN) has received short-term funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to open and operate an overdose prevention site in Brampton. This site is among the first four sites announced by the province that will receive funding to expand life-saving overdose prevention programs in Ontario.
Services at the site will include drug testing, distribution of sterile drug use equipment and naloxone, self-administered drug use stations under supervision, and critical life-saving assistance in the event of an overdose. The site will also offer responsive and proactive needle sweeps, collection and disposal in the surrounding area by trained peers and volunteers.
“More people died of opioid-related deaths in Peel in three months last summer than in all of 2013,” said Phillip Banks, Executive Director of Peel HIV/AIDS Network. “Our overdose prevention site will save lives. We look forward to working with community members, elected officials, public health, and other key stakeholders as we implement this urgently needed health service in our region. Our community will be better for it.”
In 2016, there were 46 deaths in Peel involving opioids, compared to 21 deaths in 2013. In the three-month period between May and July 2017 alone, Peel had 23 opioid-related deaths.
“Peel Public Health supports overdose prevention sites as evidence-based measures to prevent death from overdose,” said Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. “As part of its Provincial mandate, Peel Public Health will provide PHAN with support for infection prevention and control, as well as injection and harm reduction supplies, including naloxone for on-site emergency use.”
The funding for this overdose site is for six months. “PHAN is grateful that the Government of Ontario is demonstrating leadership and funding frontline organizations for these temporary sites, however much remains to be done to truly combat our current opioid overdose crisis” continued Banks. Opportunities for media and community members to visit the site will be announced at a later date. The Overdose Prevention Site will open April 3rd.
This year, Canada is expected to reach a grim milestone: some 3000 overdose deaths are projected, exceeding the total number of deaths at the height of the AIDS crisis in our country.
About Peel HIV/AIDS Network (PHAN)
As a health and social service organization, PHAN has taken a leadership role in addressing the needs of people who use drugs in the Peel region for many years. We advocate for community-informed policies and health measures that reduce drug related harms. Services are provided by a dedicated team of harm reduction specialists and include: needle and safer inhalation kit distribution; leadership in the development of a regional drug strategy; overdose prevention; and participation in the regional Opiate Use Surveillance Group.
For more than two decades, PHAN has worked to improve the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of some of Peel region’s most marginalized communities. Through support, advocacy, and education, the agency strives to lessen the influence of stigma on the communities it serves, which principally includes people living with HIV, LGBTQ+ communities, African Caribbean Black communities, people who use drugs, and sex workers.
Phillip Banks, Executive Director Peel HIV/AIDS Network
You can download the infographic above here.