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Nursing group calls on province to fund Sudbury’s supervised consumption site

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One of the biggest nursing organizations in the province is calling on the province to come through with funding supervised consumption in Sudbury. 

Dr. Claudette Holloway, president of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), was in town on Friday meeting with the membership and said it’s clear to her that the membership is frustrated.

“We have 50,000, 51,600 members and they are firmly behind us in the strategy that across the province but particularly here in the north where things are so critical -- we need to see some action and we need to see it now,” said Holloway.

The long-time nurse spent the day touring Sudbury’s site and she said she’d like to see it moved closer to The Samaritan Centre so those in need can find the resources they require in one spot.

Holloway’s visit comes at a time when all supervised consumption site application forms have been put on hold pending a review by the provincial government.

It came following the death of a young mother in east Toronto following a shooting outside the facility.

News of the review came last fall but Sudbury’s application has been with the province for more than two and a half years.

One of the biggest nursing organizations in the province is calling on the province to come through with funding supervised consumption in Sudbury. (Photo submitted by Neil Stephen of the RNAO)

“When you fund this kind of a treatment centre, it’s going to have an impact and reduce the pressures on hospitals and emergency rooms much like we’ve seen that they’re already overloaded,” Holloway said.

She said their support for supervised consumption services is evidence-based and in Sudbury, the proof is in the numbers.

In 2023, Public Health Sudbury and Districts reported roughly 1,961 visits with 20 overdoses. All 20 overdoses were successfully reversed.

Saves lives

“Without required support from EMS or hospital emergency services, so when we’re talking about lives saved, that’s a tangible number,” said health promoter Nicole Gauthier.

“So we call on the Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, to provide more funding and also other ministries because it is not just the Ministry of Health to get the funding we need in Sudbury,” said Dr. Paul-Andre Gauthier.

Gauthier also serves as president of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Ontario.

“Generally speaking, safe consumption sites see a reduction in local crime rates and local drug-related paraphernalia,” said the RNAO’s Neil Stephen.

“We’re asking the province to fully fund the site or at least offer bridge funding while they complete their review.”

Holloway said the message is simple: it’s healthy, effective and real.

“We need to save every life because we don’t know what the life has the intention to do later on down or how they would influence others,” she said. 

Correction

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario as a union. 

The original number of visits to the Sudbury supervised drug consumption site in 2023 was under reported by public health and corrected on Monday in an email to CTV News.

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