In October 2018, after a provincial review of existing Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) and Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS), the Government of Ontario announced its commitment to fund a re-purposed version of the Consumption and Treatments Services (CTS) Program. Consumption and Treatment Services sites provide wrap-around services that connect clients who use drugs to primary care, treatment, and other health and social services; including:
- Supervised consumption and overdose prevention services,
- Onsite or defined pathways to addictions treatment services,
- Onsite or defined pathways to wrap-around services, and
- Harm reduction services.
Opioid overdose and opioid related mortality has risen dramatically during the pandemic. Opioid overdose has risen considerably each year in Windsor-Essex from 197 in 2017 to 350 in 2020. As well, in 2020 Windsor-Essex saw the highest number of opioid related deaths since 2007. Of the deaths in 2020 (Jan-Sept), 97.9% were identified as accidental and 52.2% of those individuals were alone at the time of death.
In September of 2019, the WECHU Board of Health passed a resolution supporting the submission of a Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) application for a site in the City of Windsor. The submission for a proposed site will be made to the Ministry of Health, including the submission of an Exemption for Medical Purposes under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for Activities at a Supervised Consumption Site Application required by Health Canada.
In order to facilitate the site location process required for the application, a CTS Stakeholder Advisory Committee was established and site criteria determined, complimenting the mandatory requirements under the federal and provincial processes:
- Site must be 200m from a sensitive land use (e.g. parks, daycare centers, and schools) as well as 600m from other CTS sites OR If located within 200m of a sensitive land use, application must include plans on how to address community concerns
- Site must be easily accessible by public transit
- Site must be within walking distance to areas known to be frequented by people who use drugs
- Space should be greater than 590ft2 (for six consumption booths) or 385ft2 (for three booths)
To complete the application process, a location and a comprehensive community consultation on the site are required. The WECHU has identified two potential sites for a CTS within the Downtown area of Windsor, prioritized through the Supervised Injection Services Community Consultations Report. The two sites are located at:
- 101 Wyandotte Street East, Windsor
- 628 Goyeau Street, Windsor
Each site was reviewed using a matrix scoring tool. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) audits were completed on both sites by Windsor Police Services (WPS). The WECHU, with support from the CTS advisory committee is currently engaged in the consultation process on both sites. Consultation will follow similar processes and models conducted in other regions such as Barrie, Waterloo, Toronto. The consultation includes the following:
- Key informant interviews with stakeholders and businesses in proximity to the proposed sites,
- Focus groups with key stakeholder groups such as outreach workers, people with lived experience, and neighbourhood groups,
- An online community survey, and
- Live town halls held virtually, with special invitation to workplaces and residents within 300 metres of the each location.
Whereas, Opioid overdose and opioid related mortality has been declared a public health crisis, and
Whereas, Opioid overdose and opioid related mortality is at an all time high in Windsor-Essex, and
Whereas, Consumption and Treatment Services have the potential to address opioid overdose and opioid related mortality, and
Whereas, the WECHU is required to submit an application for a CTS that includes a site location and an accompanying community consultation, and
Whereas, the CTS advisory committee has identified two potential sites and has engaged in the community consultation on the proposed sites
Now therefore be it resolved that the Windsor-Essex County Board of Health support the WECHU administration to finalize a site for the CTS, pending no concerns, based on the outcome of the community consultation, and
FURTHER THAT, the Board of Health support administration to continue with the next steps of the consultation process which includes seeking City of Windsor council approval for the proposed site, and
FURTHER THAT, administration enter into an agreement with the proposed landlord to secure the site for submission of an application.