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Dr. Penny Sutcliffe defends the importance of having a supervised drug consumption site

Supervised site is to provide an area where persons with drug addiction can take drugs
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, chief medical officer of health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. (File)

Speaking in a social media video, Sudbury Medical Officer of Health Penny Sutcliffe defends the concept of having a new supervised drug consumption site near Sudbury's downtown area.

The video was posted on the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) Facebook page on Tuesday. It follows the announcement from the City of Greater Sudbury (CGS) that work is underway at Energy Court to create the temporary facility.

Site preparation work is underway and three used modular trailers will be set up. CGS has an open tender seeking a company to go in to renovate the trailers to accommodate offices and consumption rooms.

In her video, Sutcliffe said the move is not the perfect answer to the local opioid addiction crisis, but is still an important step in dealing with the problem.  

"Supervised consumption services are not a silver bullet, but they are a critical component of a comprehensive strategy to deal with drugs," said Sutcliffe. 

Drug consumption sites have opened already in several Canadian cities and are regarded as an area where people with drug addictions can consume drugs with a lesser chance of having an overdose, as well as having an area where medical services and social services are nearby. 

"They reduce the risk of infectious diseases; importantly they reduce the risk of overdose deaths, really important in terms of connecting people to services, social services, health care services," Sutcliffe continued. 

She added that the creation of a supervised consumption facility is also seen as a more compassionate approach to helping people with addictions. 

"And critically important, they are a really humanized approach to dealing with this issue, which is an addiction," she said.

It is expected that the Energy Court consumption site could be open and operational by March. The health unit is still waiting for formal permission from the federal government to allow for the use of illegal substances at that specific site. 


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