Toronto Star (04.12.12) - Friday, April 13, 2012
Research results announced Wednesday tout the benefits Toronto
could realize by opening three supervised injection
facilities. However, numerous key officials maintain
reservations about permitting facilities where illicit drugs,
such as heroin, are taken in a clean environment supervised by
The long-awaited Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption
Assessment (TOSCA) study indicated that opening the facilities
would lower public drug use, prevent new HIV and hepatitis C
infections, and be an excellent health care investment. It did
not propose locations for the three Toronto sites or the two
suggested for Ottawa.
Co-principal researcher Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, from the Center for
Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital, said
the facilities could "offer meaningful improvements for the
health of people who use drugs," and "make neighborhoods where
drug use is common more livable."
Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday wondered whether sites would
"just attract more problems," and asked to review the data
supporting the study's conclusion, as well as to hear opinions
of other experts and learn the results experienced by cities
that host injection sites. Likewise, Toronto Board of Health
Chair John Filion questioned whether enough research indicated
the sites were "the way to go with Toronto."
Gord Perks, chair of the Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation
Task Force, supports the findings. "The evidence is clear -
supervised injection sites save money, save lives, and improve
the quality of our neighborhoods."
Noting "issues that have arisen" around Vancouver's injection
site, Police Chief Bill Blair added, "I don't know of any
place in Toronto where that couldn't have a significant
negative impact on the communities." Ontario Premier Dalton
McGuinty said he will defer to experts' decision on sites for
"We have no plans to pursue supervised sites at this time,"
said Toronto Health Minister Deb Mathews.