New ratepayers' association video raises concerns over safe consumption site
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:49PM EDT
It's the newest addition to the Midtown Ratepayers’ Association web page, and its social media sites.
A video references media reports raising concerns in various cities across Canada where safe consumption sites exist.
The association was spearheaded by Denise Krogman who says the video had one goal, "To get the truth out there about what happens around safe injection sites. And about how we need to keep our neighbourhood safe."
Members of the Midtown Ratepayers’ Association have argued that putting a safe consumption site in the former John Bellone music store at 446 York Street would have dire consequences for businesses and residences in the area.
Krogman, and her father Dennis, runs Dennis Krogman Auto Sales, which is located next to the proposed home of the permanent consumption site.
She says the video reflects her concerns, "Because of the fact that people go back onto the street after they've used these drugs it causes vandalism and it makes the areas not desirable to live in or have a business in."
The community association recently secured the services of Blackridge Strategy but won't say what role the public affairs and lobbying agency had in the video.
Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, says the video doesn't reflect what research has found.
"All sorts of anecdotal evidence doesn't change the science. The research shows it does not make a difference in terms of crime in the area or drug use in the area."
And Mackie points to Public Health Ontario data which tracked a dramatic spike in local opioid-related deaths in the first quarter of 2018. The data shows 22 deaths recorded.
Mackie says a decline and levelling off in the number of deaths coincides with the opening of temporary drug consumption site on King Street.
The data shows that deaths in the region have ranged from 12 to 15 in each quarter since, with the most recent available data for the first quarter of 2019.
Mackie says that proves, "What this site does is save lives. And that's why we're running it."
And he says the temporary site has also funneled hundreds of people into treatment programs.
But Dennis Krogman believes too many are still ending up back on the streets, "This is not solving the problem. We want to see the problem solved in a facility that's going to help the people."