Queen's Park, July 24, 2018 - "My question is for the Premier. The Middlesex-London Health Unit has requested a six-month extension for London’s temporary overdose prevention site, or TOPS, to keep the site operating until the permanent supervised consumption facility is in place. The temporary site was approved in February for a six-month period and has already made a huge impact in reducing the number of overdose deaths in London. Not only has the site saved lives by reversing overdoses, it has also referred almost 100 clients to other services, such as addictions treatment, mental health counselling and supportive housing.
Speaker, will the Premier approve the extension of the temporary site and allow TOPS to continue providing life-saving care to some of London’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations?
I think Premier Ford was clear during the election that he was dead against overdose prevention sites, even as the number of opioid-related deaths in Ontario continues to rise.
Last year across the country, 4,000 people died because of opioid poisoning compared to 3,000 the year before. In my community of London, we have the third-highest rate of hospitalizations due to opioid poisoning in Canada and the second-highest in Ontario.
Not only will keeping the temporary site open save lives, it will also help reduce some of the pressure on our hospital emergency room. Speaker, will the Premier make a decision based on solid research and evidence of harm reduction, or will he ignore the recommendations of public health experts and reject the request to keep this site open?"