Safe consumption site now in new temporary location
A safe consumption site is offering its services to people from a new and temporary location, while construction on its permanent home is completed.
Carepoint Consumption, Treatment, and Harm Reduction Services set up a trailer on June 28 outside its future home, the former John Bellone music store, at 446 York Street.
Construction on the new site has been delayed, with pandemic and supply-chain issues pushing back the move-in.
“Our goal is for it to be [ready] by the end of this year,” said Megan Van Boheemen, Carepoint’s harm reduction services manager. “Construction is working really hard to get this state-of-the-art facility up and running as quickly as they can.”
The trailer is fully staffed for consumption purposes, said Van Boheemen, with four team members there throughout the day. That includes medical professionals like paramedics. Its needle and syringe program is at the Middlesex London Health Unit, while administrative duties happen off-site for the time being.
“Our staff does an amazing job at meeting people where they’re at and providing life-saving services,” she said.
The new site is right across the street from the Men’s Mission facility, but a neighbourhood business told CTV News London that clients have caused problems.
“Disaster. Very bad,” said Elyas Samano, who owns the nearby Piccadilly Motors body shop.
He acknowledges the challenges many of those clients face, but says the neighbourhood is leaving a bad impression for his customers.
“Those people are addicted, it’s very hard,” he said. “You see your property damaged, break-ins, burning cars. Lots of stuff.”
Carepoint tries to combat stigma against people using its services through education, said Van Boheemen.
“It’s a proven fact that harm reduction saves lives,” she said. “We’re responding to overdose on a regular basis. This service is required.”