Tomorrow, August 31, marks International Overdose Awareness Day. The epidemic of overdose deaths continues to take a staggering toll, underscoring the need to challenge the deadly stigma surrounding drug use and to revisit the failed approach of criminalizing drug use and imprisoning people who use drugs.
But in Ontario this year, the government appears intent on attacking even basic, evidence-based health services that are essential to saving lives.
Premier Doug Ford’s government has announced an unnecessary “review of the evidence” regarding supervised consumption sites (SCS) and has imposed an indefinite moratorium on provincial support for new overdose prevention sites (OPS). It has even “paused” some already-approved sites that were on the verge of opening. Meanwhile, the number of overdose deaths continues to rise.
These actions are reckless and deadly.
As part of our response, the Legal Network has distributed an open letter to Premier Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, which has been signed by more than 120 organizations. We stand with people who use drugs and the many advocates and allies who are working hard to ensure the implementation of sensible, evidence-based drug policy.