Pop-up Overdose Prevention initiative sadly needed
By Fred Sherwin
to Overdose Prevention Ottawa (OPO) which organized the
pop-up safe needle injection site that has been in operation
since Aug. 26 and has served over 80 people.
needle injection sites are a hugely controversial issue
of late. Why, I’m not exactly sure. They save lives, which
should be the beginning and end of any argument in their
organizers of the Ottawa pop-up experiment preferred to
call it an overdose prevention site which is a million
times more accurate than calling it a safe needle injection
opened the pop-up site out of concern for the growing
number of overdose cases and overdose deaths sweeping
across Canada due to opioid addiction. And they did so
by foregoing the need to go through the normal channels.
pop-up site has not been sanctioned by the City of Ottawa,
nor have they received the proper approval from the federal
Ministry of Health which means OPO does not have a permit
to operate. They do, however, have morality and human
decency on their side. As one organizer put it, “We just
can’t justify letting people die because of bureaucracy.”
Public Health has given the initiative its tacit support,
saying that it shares the common goal of saving lives
from a potential overdose.
has been proven time and again that safe needle/overdose
prevention sites do save lives. For the bean-counters
out there, they can also prevent non-lethal overdoses
from happening which lessens the strain on already over-burdened
emergency departments, thus saving thousands of taxpayer
far, Ottawa has been spared the number of overdoses and
deaths that have plagued other major centres in Canada.
Although the number of reported overdoses in Ottawa has
been on the rise of late, deaths are still fairly uncommon.
Prevention Ottawa wants to keep it that way, and prevention
efforts like the pop-up site will help in doing so.
deaths are preventable if addressed and treated like any
other life-threatening illness. While drug use is a choice,
addiction is a disease, as is being an alcoholic. Only
the most callous among us can argue that overdose victims
deserve what they get because they made the choice to
abuse drugs in the first place.
for a minute imagine if it was your son or daughter. brother,
sister, parent, husband, wife, or any other family member
who was at risk of an overdose. Wouldn’t you do anything
possible to help prevent their possible death? Well that’s
what the people at OPO are doing, with or without the
government’s approval. And I say, good on them. They are
doing the work that the government has so refused to do.
the pop-up overdose prevention site prevents even one
overdose, it is a true blessing. Because that one person
is someone’s mother, father, brother or sister. They are
part of our human family and they deserve to live. .
3:30 p.m., Aug. 30)
www.orleansonline.ca's main page