QUEEN’S PARK—Windsor West NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky said that Doug Ford’s prolonged pause on overdose prevention sites is making it even harder for people battling opioid addictions, and forcing harm reduction workers to risk criminal prosecution just for giving people the care they deserve.
Gretzky cited a letter to the Minister of Health from the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre and 17 other signatories, stating that overdose prevention sites have saved 917 lives since they began operating in mid-2017. The letter called on the minister to take immediate action and open more overdose prevention sites.
“That’s 917 families who didn’t receive the worst news possible. That’s 917 people who still have a chance to build a better life,” said Gretzky. “Will the minister listen to these experts? Will she open more life-saving sites?” asked Gretzky.
Gretzky said that with Ford’s Conservatives failing to do the right thing by opening opioid prevention sites, harm reduction workers in Windsor are risking criminal prosecution to open an unsanctioned site and help people struggling with addictions.
“Windsor continues to struggle with rising poverty, one in four children now grow up in low-income households – our community has also been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis,” said Gretzky. “So much so that local harm reduction workers and advocates are planning to open an unsanctioned overdose prevention site, because they just can’t wait any longer for this Conservative government to step up to the plate.
“But opening this site means that they are risking criminal prosecution.”
“Is this government really comfortable with harm reduction workers and advocates being treated like criminals just because they’re trying to save lives?” asked Gretzky.