Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention
June 16 2022
Consumption and Treatment Services Site Update
Opioid and drug-related morbidity and mortality has continued to rise at alarming rates across Windsor-Essex County. In 2021, the region observed a total of 61 opioid-related deaths and from January to May 22nd of the current calendar year, a total of 90 opioid overdoses were recorded across the region.
On April 1, 2019 the Board of Health of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) passed a resolution in support of public health-led assessment of the feasibility of a Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) site in the City of Windsor. In September of the same year, 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 must be made to the provincial Ministry of Health, as well as a 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 complete the required application documents a physical location was required to be identified and provided. After review of over 30 properties, ultimately two (101 Wyandotte St. East and 628 Goyeau Ave.) were brought forward to the community for subsequent consultation and feedback.
On June 17th of 2021, the WECHU in partnership with representatives on the advisory committee and the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid & Substance Strategy, launched a site-specific community consultation to gather community feedback about two candidate locations for a local Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) facility. The consultation yielded local support for a potential CTS facility at both of the candidate locations. A majority of survey respondents indicated that they would provide at least some degree of support for a CTS facility at 101 Wyandotte Street East and/or 628 Goyeau Street and most providing equal support for both locations.
On January 17th, 2022 the WECHU with a series of community partners attended the City of Windsor Council meeting to request an endorsement of the first candidate site (628 Goyeau Ave) as the region’s first CTS facility and received support. The WECHU and the property owner of 628 Goyeau were not able to reach a to a final lease agreement. Negotiations were initiated with the property owner at the second candidate site (101 Wyandotte Street East) for the purposes of securing a lease. The WECHU was successful in obtaining a lease for the 101 Wyandotte Street East location. In order to proceed with applications for a permanent CTS, endorsement of the local Municipality is required. On May 30th the City of Windsor Council voted in favour of a motion to approve and provide endorsement for the CTS located at 101 Wyandotte St. East in Windsor.
Urgent Public Health Needs Site (UPHNS):
With a lease at 101 Wyandotte secured, the WECHU submitted an application for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, to operate an Urgent Public Health Needs Site (UPHNS) at this location, which allows for supervised consumption in a designated facility during the period in which the CTS applications await federal and provincial approval. Pending the approval of Health Canada for the UPHNS, the WECHU will collaborate with the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre (WECHC) to establish and operate a temporary UPHNS at 101 Wyandotte Street East. UPHNS and CTS sites share a similar goal of reducing overdose deaths through the provision of supervised consumption services. UPHNS, however, can be established more immediately than CTS sites and are a short-term response to address an urgent public health need. Additionally, UPHNS are not mandated to offer the additional wraparound services that are required through the Ontario Ministry of Health’s CTS program model, which is inclusive of substance use treatment, mental health, primary care, and other health and social services. While these services are not required to operate the local UPHNS, the WECHU and the WECHC are currently collaborating with local community partners to assess opportunities to offer such services at the proposed UPHNS in order to increase access to immediate supports for people who use substances and to ensure a seamless transition of the site into the proposed CTS in the future. This process will include the development of Service Agreements and Memorandum’s of Understanding with participating community agencies and service providers.
Since the WECHU’s submission of the UPHNS application, a query was received from Health Canada with regards to additional information required for the application and the WECHU has begun work to address these queries. The WECHU is currently awaiting a response from Health Canada as it relates to this correspondence, and is committed to addressing any future needs that may arise throughout the application completion process. The UPHNS will be funded through the WECHU’s 2022 operating budget for mandatory programs and services with in-kind supports through the WECHC and other partners. The WECHU administration is currently working with legal services to develop a service agreement for the operations of the UPHNS.
Permanent Consumption and Treatment Services Site:
Once the resolution endorsing the CTS at 101 Wyandotte is received, the WECHU will update, finalize, and submit the provincial and federal CTS applications to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Health Canada for approval to establish a permanent CTS site at this location and application for funding. The application will include intent to apply for capital expenditures including plans for re-designing and renovating the space for the CTS operations (i.e., floor planning, capital budgeting). In addition, a plan will be developed for engaging the community on an ongoing basis regarding the operations of the CTS, developing ongoing communications and public education materials about the CTS (e.g., regular reports to the Board of Health, WECOSS website communications), and other key plans. Terms of Reference will be developed in order to sustain the operations of the CTS Stakeholder Advisory Committee on an ongoing basis and MOU’s with key service providers will be explored.
For additional information and ongoing updates regarding local CTS activities, please visit https://wecoss.ca/consumption-and-treatment-site/