Construction underway on 1 of 3 supervised injection sites in Toronto
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, August 8, 2017 7:03AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:50PM EDT
Construction will begin today on one of three approved supervised injection sites in Toronto.
Toronto Public Health spokesperson Lenore Bromley confirmed that construction crews will begin work at the site located inside the Toronto Public Health building on Victoria Street, near Dundas Street.
Last summer, Toronto city council approved three supervised injection sites in the city.
In addition to the location on Victoria Street, two sites will also be offered at the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
All three locations also have existing needle exchange programs.
The estimated cost for setting up the sites is approximately $100,000 to $150,000 per centre.
The sites, public health officials say, will help save lives.
A recent spike in overdose deaths in the city prompted Mayor John Tory to hold an emergency meeting last week where officials agreed to work to speed up the opening of the sites.
Toronto recently saw at least six overdose deaths in a two-week period.
“People from time and memorial have used alcohol and drugs and have had issues. We have a choice. We can either let them die in circumstances where they take the wrong drug or take it in unsafe circumstances or we can do things to prevent deaths,” Mayor Tory told CP24 in an interview after the Aug. 3 meeting.
“I am for preventing deaths because each of these people are somebody’s son, daughter, brother or sister.”
Speaking about the site under construction Tuesday, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said it will be open as soon as possible.
"The important part is we want to make sure it is all set up and that it is safe both for our staff and for of course the clients and the users of the service," she said.
"It is certainly safer than injecting alone and that’s the reason why we are establishing these kinds of facilities."