Artwork: Mique Michelle; Grondin, Beau. International Overdose Awareness Day Mural. 2019. Timmins, Ontario.
About Us – Timmins and Area Drug Strategy (TADS)
The proposed SCS site has been and continues to be a collaborative effort with ongoing endorsement, support and partnership from Timmins and Area Drug Strategy Steering committee agencies.
The Timmins and Area Drug Strategy is a community group with members from various health, social and justice organizations, working collaboratively to reduce the range of harms associated with substance use.
TADS works to address substance use across the pillars of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, enforcement, and emergency management.
The TADS steering committee recognizes the importance of having supervised consumption services in our area as one part of a larger, comprehensive drug strategy.
Applying for a SCS site in Timmins is just one example of the collaborative community work that is underway in the region to address opioid use and overdoses.
Updates on the planning process for a proposed SCS site will be shared here.
Supervised consumption site
This information is about a proposed provincially funded, permanent Supervised Consumption Services site (SCS) in Timmins. This is not about the temporary site called Safe Health Site Timmins. Safe Health Site Timmins (currently operated by Timmins and District Hospital, www.shst.ca) is in place until we can secure a permanent SCS site for Timmins (we will only have one site total).
Both types of sites are Supervised Consumption Services sites (or overdose prevention sites) where people can access medical support to prevent overdose deaths. However, the main differences between the two types of sites are:
Supervised Consumption Service Site (SCS) / Consumption Treatment Services site (CTS)
- Longer-term: Renew every few years
- Longer application process
- 2 applications (Federal and Provincial)
- Provincially funded
- Community consultation is part of the application process
While the Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming branch (CMHA-CT) will be the operator of the proposed site, this initiative has been and continues to be a collaborative effort with ongoing endorsement, support and partnership from Timmins and Area Drug Strategy (TADS) Steering committee agencies.
Urgent Public Health Needs Site (UPHNS) / Safe Health Site Timmins
- Short term/Temporary to meet an urgent need in a community
- Shorter application process
- 1 application (Federal)
- Not provincially funded
For more information on Safe Health Site Timmins and the benefits of Supervised Consumption Services sites, visit www.shst.ca
Application Status Updates:
Establishing a provincially funded SCS site requires an application to Health Canada for an exemption to Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and an application for funding from the provincial government.
Two separate applications were submitted on January 27, 2023, by the Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming (CMHA CT) as the operator/applicant:
Health Canada (federal)
- Supervised Consumption Services Application
- Provides the legal exemption that is required to permit the use of illegal substances at a site.
- CURRENT STATUS: Awaiting approval.
Ministry of Health (provincial)
- Consumption Treatment Services Application
- Provides funding.
- CURRENT STATUS: Awaiting approval.
What are Supervised Consumption Services (SCS)?
In Ontario, provincially funded Supervised Consumption Services sites (SCS) are referred to as Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS).
A Supervised Consumption Services site is a controlled space where people can consume their own pre-obtained drugs under supervision of trained staff who can respond if a medical emergency (overdose) occurs. People who use the service can access basic medical care, referrals to treatment services, withdrawal beds, and other health and social services.
Supervised consumption services sites help save lives and create safer communities. Research shows that SCS sites provide the following benefits:
- Saves lives by reducing the number of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses.
- Reduces the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C among people who use drugs.
- Connects people who use drugs with mental health supports, addictions services, primary health care services, and social services like housing and other supports.
- Reduces drug use in public spaces and provides options for proper needle disposal.
Feasibility Study / Community Surveys
A general consultation about establishing Supervised Consumption Services in Timmins was completed via surveys (prior to proposing a specific location). 59% of the 529 respondents said they see benefit in having an overdose prevention site in Timmins. A separate consultation involving 107 people who use drugs found that 74% said they would use a CTS.
- TADS steering committee members were asked to participate in an online survey to provide input into the proposed CTS.
- 12 agencies submitted a survey.
- Results have been compiled and analyzed.
General Public Survey (May 1 – 31, 2022)
- An online survey was launched to better understand local perceptions of CTS, levels of support or opposition, and to gather feedback about questions or concerns.
- 529 surveys were submitted.
- Results have been compiled and analyzed.
People Who Inject Drugs Survey (March– August, 2022)
- Facilitated in-person surveys were completed (March to August 2022) at participating agencies with people who inject drugs.
- The purpose of this survey is to get the opinions of people who might use CTS to inform the need, services, and planning of a proposed CTS.
- 107 surveys were submitted.
- Results have been compiled and analyzed.
A summary of the results of all surveys will be made available once completed.
Operator - Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane- Timiskaming (CMHA-CT)
- The mission of the CMHA Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch is to help people living with, and touched by addictions and mental illness by providing the support services needed on their journey to happy and fulfilling lives, while educating and advocating for a caring community where everyone belongs.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming branch (CMHA-CT) has stepped forward as the planned operator of the proposed supervised consumption services site (SCS). Our vision is to create a community that embraces mental health as a key to well-being, and to provide culturally safe, equitable access to quality community support services. CMHA-CT is a great fit to run the proposed CTS, as it:
- Already provides the required integrated, wrap-around services that connect clients who use drugs to primary care, housing, treatment, and other integral health and social services.
- Has been a leader in mental health and addiction services in our area, developing and implementing innovative approaches in these areas.
Following the application processes and site requirements (as outlined by the Ministry of Health and Health Canada), 21 Cedar Street North has been determined to be the most appropriate location for the proposed permanent Supervised Consumption Services site (also known in Ontario as Consumption Treatment Services).
Based on criteria outlined by the province, the location needs to be:
- In an area where the highest concentration of substance use is occurring, as indicated by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls related to suspected overdose and improperly discarded syringes have been found. In Timmins, this means near the downtown core.
- Near and integrated with health, social, and harm reduction services.
- Located at an acceptable distance away from schools, licensed daycares, and parks.
Other key considerations leading to 21 Cedar Street North as the location of the proposed site:
- The site is owned by the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) who has already demonstrated great support for a supervised consumption site at this location.
- The site has had a successful exemption granted by Health Canada (as a temporary site).
- The site requires little to no renovations to be operational as a permanent site.
- The site requires no up-front or holding costs.
- Clients are already familiar and accepting of this location, as evident by the volume of client visits to the temporary site.
- The space includes a clinic room that will allow for on-site supportive services.
- The site is within current outreach-serviced areas.
The site evaluation process:
- The site evaluation process took place from August to November 2022.
- The Timmins and Area Drug Strategy (TADS) CTS working group led the process, with guidance from the TADS Steering Committee, and with additional support from the Housing Development department of the CDSSAB.
- Multiple locations were screened by the TADS CTS working group. 21 Cedar Street North was the location that met the most criteria.
- Discussions with Health Canada (October 26, 2022) and the Ministry of Health (November 2, 2022) occurred to identify any concerns related to their respective criteria specific to this location – none were identified.
- The TADS Steering Committee supports proceeding with applications for the proposed permanent site at location of 21 Cedar Street North (November 15, 2022).
Community Information Sessions
- Virtual community information sessions were held:
- December 14, 2022 - 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- December 14, 2022 - 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Timmins Business Improvement Association (BIA) Session
- A virtual session was held for BIA members on January 12, 2023.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming branch (CMHA-CT) and its partners met with Timmins city council on December 15, 2022, to request an endorsement of the location of the proposed permanent SCS site.
- On January 17, 2023, the City of Timmins Mayor and Council voted in favour of the endorsement of a provincially funded SCS site at 21 Cedar Street North in Timmins.
The Board of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit Endorsement
- The Board of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit formally approved a resolution supporting the proposed provincially funded SCS site at the location of 21 Cedar Street North on January 26, 2023.
The purpose of engagement is to advise the community of the details of the site and of supervised consumption services in general and to identify concerns so that strategies can be planned and put in place to address them.
- Engagement has been initiated with neighbours in the immediate area of 21 Cedar Street North. CMHA-CT is committed to ongoing engagement throughout the application approval process and after the proposed permanent SCS site is operational.
Timmins Chamber of Commerce Session
- A virtual session is scheduled for Timmins Chamber of Commerce members on February 16, 2023.
- CTS Working Group - once the site is open, a group will be formed for ongoing engagement. This group would meet to share updates about the site, help with planning to ensure procedures are in place to respond to any issues should they arise, and continue to proactively connect with neighbours in proximity to the site to answer questions and prevent issues from occurring.
Why Timmins Needs a Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) site
Our public health unit area had the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the province in 2020. The fourth highest rate in 2021.
Timmins has the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the province compared to other medium population centres.
One of the greatest risk factors for dying from an opioid overdose is using alone. Most people who die of opioid poisoning are using alone - In three out of four opioid-related deaths, no one was present to intervene. The current drug supply is contaminated with toxic fentanyl analogues and using alone may result in death. Having a supervised consumption site eliminates many overdose risk factors, including using alone.
Please direct all questions related to the proposed permanent SCS site to the CMHA-CT Communications Department.
Email: [email protected]