If everything falls into place, a temporary drug consumption site will open next month, in part of the former Living Space building on Cedar Street North.
It will be operated by Timmins and District Hospital, whose manager of addictions, Pat Nowak, says application for approval has gone to Health Canada. He’s hopeful of a February opening.
“That all depends on the approval process, furnishing and equipping the place, hiring staff and a variety of other factors that can impact that,” he outlines.
The pandemic is complicating the process. Health Canada and other related agencies are preoccupied with COVID-19 right now.
Nowak emphasizes that while this is a good development, it won’t solve the opioid crisis.
“This is a small part in a wider drug strategy that has to incorporate things like treatment, prevention, in addition to having the harm reduction services augmented.”
Part of the Health Canada approval will be a Criminal Code exemption for the site, so that drug users can’t be charged for possession while they’re there.