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Newsletter February 10

This week, the Ontario HIV Treatment Network released a report on the feasibility of a Supervised Injection Site here in London.

The report (which you can read here) surveyed 199 people in London who inject drugs. Together with statistics about opioid abuse in our city, it reaffirms the fact that London is facing a serious challenge.

This is not a neighbourhood issue. It is a citywide issue.

Here are some of the figures from the report:

  • 72 per cent of the respondents said they injected drugs in public spaces in the past six months.

  • More than half of all respondents said they were homeless or lived in unstable housing.

  • Almost 20 per cent said they engaged in sex work or had exchanged sex for resources in the past six months.

  • 22 per cent said they had borrowed or loaned used syringes.

Supervised injection sites are a place for people who inject drugs to do so in a safe manner, under the supervision of knowledgeable healthcare staff. They are not providing the drugs nor can they buy the drugs there. This could make our sidewalks, alleyways, playgrounds and other public spaces safer by reducing the number of people injecting drugs and discarding needles in high traffic areas.

This could reduce the strain on our police force, fire crews and paramedics who first respond to overdoses. It could also save precious resources in our healthcare system. It could improve health by reducing the transmission of communicable diseases through needle sharing as well as HIV and Hepatitis C, rates of which are at an all-time high in London. Our own Chief Medical Officer of Health has called it a public health crisis.

We need to acknowledge that London is indeed facing these issues and we need to take a serious look at options to solve the problem.

More than 90 supervised injection sites exist in eight countries, including two in Vancouver. Just this week, Health Canada approved three sites in Montreal.

This is the beginning of a community conversation for London. It is imperative that any strategy we implement include wrap-around support for people who inject drugs to help them find addiction treatment, supportive housing programs and counselling among other supports.

Earlier this week, the Big City Mayors’ Caucus formed a task force to identify best practices to address the opioid crisis across Canada. This will be an important resource to help determine how services are rolled out in our community.

I am looking forward to the frank discussions that will come. They may not be comfortable, but they are necessary for a safer and healthier London.

Sincerely,

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Matt Brown



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Staff and I supporting Raising the Roof and Unity Project with a #toqueselfie


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Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and the federal government announced a $404-million investment to upgrade LAV’s at General Dynamics.


Newsmakers:

Events and Occasions:

  • London Black History opening ceremonies

  • Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Team working session
  • Optimist Trivia Night

  • Sifton Properties West 5 Smart Community event

  • Meeting with Allison Whitehouse

  • Meeting with Hank Vander Laan and Steve Dozeman

  • Meeting with Titus Ferguson

  • Meeting with Jim Hatch

  • Meeting with Clinton Springer

  • Meeting with Gary Lima

  • AMO Roundtable video conference with Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

  • Supervised Injection Site Feasibility report launch

  • Meeting with Randy Warden

  • 11th Annual Breakfast for YOU

  • Meeting with John Geha, Jim Smith and Chad Lovell from London St. Thomas Association of Realtors

  • Meeting with Ryan Beliveau

  • Meeting with Leo Larizza

  • Meeting with Ryan Krasnicki

  • General Dynamics Land Systems announcement

  • Meeting with Barry Sandler

  • Meeting with Dieufert Bellot



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Attending the 11th Annual YOU Breakfast.

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Speaking at Sifton Properties’ West 5 community, which will be the first energy self sufficient in Ontario.

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