Federal exemption granted to operate Greater Sudbury’s supervised consumption site

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Original issued by Réseau ACCESS Network

Today, the Community Drug Strategy for the City of Greater Sudbury announced that Health Canada has granted a federal exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to operate a new supervised consumption site at the Réseau ACCESS Network – 24 Energy Court site in Greater Sudbury.

“This is a significant milestone for Sudbury’s community, knowing that this site will soon be up and running,” said Heidi Eisenhauer, Executive Director of Réseau ACCESS Network. “We know that sites like these save lives, and that they are one of the necessary interventions in our current overdose crisis.”

Community Drug Strategy Co-Chairs, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe and Chief Paul Pedersen shared their support and acknowledgement of the multi-team effort to reach this milestone. “Establishing this site is a response to a local call to action. We heard, we listened, and we are grateful that the doors to this service will soon be open,” said Paul Pedersen, Chief, Greater Sudbury Police Services.

Réseau ACCESS Network is currently in the process of recruiting health care professionals, namely nurses or primary care paramedics, to meet the minimum staffing requirements to open and begin offering services. Once staff is hired, the 24 Energy Court site will be operational with intended service hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 365 days a year.

“It is wonderful to see our community partners another step closer to opening,” said the Mayor of Greater Sudbury. “City Council moved this project forward quickly, and staff worked hard to prepare the site so our partners can better reach those who use substances and connect them with health and social services. I have no doubt these services will help address the effects of the opioid crisis in Greater Sudbury and save lives.”

Supervised consumption sites are spaces where people can consume their own pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff in a safe and non-judgmental environment. People are provided with safer drug use equipment and can also receive medical care and referrals to other health and social services.

Given the rise in opioid-related overdoses and the poisoned drug crisis, supervised consumption sites have been shown to reduce overdoses, infections, and deaths related to drug use. In other communities, these services have been beneficial in referring clients to essential services like housing, mental health care, and treatment options.

Some benefits seen from other supervised consumption sites include:

Services offered by the supervised consumption site include sterile supplies for substance use and supportive spaces for substance consumption, peer support, and access and/or referral to health and social services.

The feasibility of establishing a supervised consumption site was extensively explored, including an 11-month community consultation and data analysis—the Needs Assessment and Feasibility study. This is a required step in seeking a federal exemption under Health Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The federal exemption is the final element required to complete the provincial application for a funded supervised consumption and treatment site.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Public Health Sudbury & Districts Medical Officer of Health and co-chair of the Community Drug Strategy thanked all community stakeholders, noting, “While we still have a long way to go in addressing harms related to substance use, we are grateful for all the hard work from citizens and community partners to help us get here today. Supervised consumption sites are an important part of a multiprong approach to addressing the local drug poisoning tragedy.”

For more information on supervised consumption sites, please visit the Community Drug Strategy’s website at www.phsd.ca/cds or call Reseau ACCESS Network at 705.885.0500.

This item was last modified on May 17, 2022