SUDBURY -- With the opioid crisis back in the headlines recently, officials in Sudbury are looking for a suitable location in downtown Sudbury for a supervised consumption site.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has released an expression of interest, seeking bids from landowners who may have a suitable location. Supervised consumption sites are locations where people dealing with opioid addiction can go to safely use (but not obtain) drugs, and where they can receive counselling and information about treatment options.

The tender is part of the federal and provincial application process to open the site. Public Health released it on behalf of Réseau ACCESS Network and the Community Drug Strategy (CDS), a committee that includes police, city and social services organizations working on solutions to the drug crisis.

"The CDS is engaged in a process of submitting applications for federal exemption and provincial funding to implement supervised consumption and treatment services (SCS) in order to support the safe use of substances and provide access to treatment for people who use drugs," the health unit said.

"SCS are known to have many benefits, including a reduction in drug overdose related deaths and creating links to supportive treatment and care. This service will provide sterile supplies and a clean and safe environment where people can consume their own drugs under supervision by trained staff, including health care professionals."

The move comes after a study released in June found that almost 60 per cent of residents surveyed said they thought the idea would help with the crisis, but the location was a common concern.

"The most common suggestion for a location was centralized in the downtown core, in proximity to, and integrated with, existing harm reduction services and the majority of health care and social services," the report said.

“The study is a critical step in determining how consumption services could help put the brakes on the significant and growing health harms related to substance use in the city," Sutcliffe is quoted as saying in a news release. "It combines the voices of our community along with careful data analysis and ensures that those most affected by substance use are heard.

The expression of interest is aimed at "building owners who may be interested in providing space for SCS."

Interested landowners have to meet several criteria, including:

- Available space of approximately 1,500-2,000 sq. ft.

- Proper zoning for such a service.

- A location not within 200 metres of a child care centre, park or school is preferred.

- The location should be within the downtown core.

- The location must have accessible washrooms for staff and clients.

- The location must have the ability to have three rooms (service intake, consumption, and post-consumption care). Ideally the consumption room should have the ability to add a hand and foot washing station.

- The consumption and post-consumption rooms in the location must be accessible to paramedics and first responders.

Potential sites will be evaluated using a scorecard, and parties who are short-listed will be contacted by Réseau ACCESS Network. Deadline to apply is 3 p.m. on Nov. 10.