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Consumption site in Sudbury safe for another month

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The supervised consumption site in Sudbury will be staying open for at least one more month, but instability has meant a loss of staff at the location where people use drugs under supervision by trained staff.

Réseau ACCESS Network said there were more than 330 visits to The Spot last month, with numbers continuing to grow. Yet the status of the consumption site remains on rocky ground.

“Long term it’s unsustainable to do month-to-month,” said Angèl Riess, manager of education and communications.

“We’ve received support from the community so far and we’ve been very fortunate that way, but it’s unsustainable. So unfortunately as a result of the lack of funding from the province, we are going to have to close at the end of March.”

While private funding will allow the site to stay open for now, most of the staff have left already because of the instability.

“It’s very difficult to live that way, and so what we are doing in order to fill some of those gaps is staff here (at Réseau) are volunteering to do extra hours,” Riess said.

“They are going to get paid for those extra hours, but they’re going to be working above and beyond their regular duties in order to accommodate the shifts at The Spot.”

Provincial funding would allow the spot to remain open permanently, but it’s been more than two years since Réseau first applied and it’s still waiting for an answer. The province has frozen all funding decisions while it studies the issue after a fatal shooting outside one location last summer.

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In a statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Health said the review is ongoing “and will inform the next steps by the Ministry of Health including funding, location and application decisions.”

Réseau said the site will remain open until March 29. Due to limited staff, hours of operation have been reduced to Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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