Despite what some people might think, the safe injection site, also known by their less scary sounding name of “overdose prevention sites,” that has been approved by St. Catharines city council is a very good thing.
In response to reports that came out early in the year, council voted unanimously that the city would open its own site on a trial basis, lasting between three and six months to get the lay of the land and figure out just how much a service like this would benefit the community.
The numbers don’t lie though. There were 520 suspected opioid overdoses in Niagara in 2017, which adds up to an astonishing 335 per cent increase over the previous year. Despite what we perceive as an increased awareness of the dangers, opioid deaths are only going to go up. Sites like this can be the difference between life and death for someone. St. Catharines and Niagara are finally starting to taking care of their people.
Of course, not everyone will use the site. Despite best efforts there will still be a stigma associated with getting this help that is so desperately needed. Addiction can affect anybody in any walk of life and any age group. This is a step in the right direction and it is a very good thing. It’s a bandaid – a stop gap – but it’s also a thermometer. When the people who can do something about it have the information they need, they can step up and find more permanent solutions to addiction and overdose issues. For those who say “not in my backyard,” know that this is already happening. Hundreds of people died in your backyard last year. Maybe this year there will be fewer deaths, fewer lives destroyed and fewer families torn apart.