Supervised injection site dominates community meeting - 1310 NEWS
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Supervised injection site dominates community meeting

Last Updated Sep 12, 2017 at 9:20 am EDT

A pop-up supervised injection site tent set up on St. Patrick Street, in Raphael Brunet Park. (Photo courtesy: Overdose Prevention Ottawa)

OTTAWA — A heated discussion about a volunteer-run supervised injection site in a neighbourhood park dominated the agenda at the Lowertown Community Association’s first regular meeting since the site began.

The meeting consisted of a presentation on the site followed by a discussion.

“Our role, as a community association, is to try and funnel that into some sort of constructive dialogue to hear both sides of the story,” said Thierry Harris, vice-president, Lowertown Community Association.

Harris says the site has been the talk of the neighbourhood, with residents both for and against the site.

“There’s frustration with the mayor, and the councillor as well,” said Harris, who feels a lack of leadership means a solution for the site has yet to be laid out.

Volunteers with Overdose Prevention Ottawa, the group behind the pop-up injection site, feel that local government and public health officials need to move more quickly on setting up the capital’s planned permanent supervised injection sites.

“I’m not sensing that people understand the gravity of this overdose crisis,” said Marilou Gagnon, a nurse and volunteer. “That really concerns me.”

Overdose Prevention Ottawa says at least two overdose deaths have been prevented so far by the site, and that the number of drug users coming show that the site is sorely needed.

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