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Sudbury consumption site saves health care dollars, officials argue as they await provincial funding

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Sudbury consumption site saves health care dollars, officials argue as they await provincial funding

The future of the supervised consumption site in Sudbury -- known as The Spot -- is uncertain.

The site is staying open for the month of February thanks to a private donation, but after that, it may be forced to close due to a lack of funding.

In a recent presentation during provincial pre-budget consultations, officials with The Spot emphasized the cost savings to health care that result from the services it offers.

“Hepatitis C is curable, which is fantastic, but it does cost money to provide the treatment to an individual, which is between $50,000 and $70,000,” said Amber Fritz, the manager of The Spot and supervised consumption services for Reseau Access Network.

“So when someone comes into the consumption site, they are provided with sterile injection equipment.”

The Reseau Access Network offers testing and treatment for Hep C.

“When Hepatitis C goes untreated, it can lead to further health complications such as liver cancer and could in turn put more strain on the healthcare system,” said Keenan Boily, a Hepatitis C treatment nurse.

Officials at The Spot said the distribution of harm-reduction supplies also helps prevent HIV infection amongst people who use drugs by injecting or smoking them.

“If you are out in community and you might not have access to sterile equipment, there is the possibility of sharing, which is of course a way of transmitting Hepatitis C and HIV,” said Fritz.

“For HIV, which is not curable but people can live long and healthy lives with the incredible medication that is available today and the cost of that is approximately $15,000 annually.”

Officials with The Spot said if provincial funding comes through and it can stay open beyond the end of this month, the hope is to relocate to the downtown core to make the service more accessible.

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