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Health Canada approves 3 safe injection sites in Toronto

Last Updated Jun 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm EDT

A man prepares heroin he bought on the street to be injected at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO – Health Canada has approved three supervised injection sites in Toronto.

Health Minister Jane Philpott says necessary exemptions from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act have been granted for the clinics to operate.

The sites allow people to use illicit drugs under the supervision of a medical professional in case they overdose.

They are to be located at Toronto Public Health’s The Works, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Philpott said Friday in a release that Canadian and international evidence demonstrates that supervised injection sites save lives without increasing drug use or crime in the surrounding area.

She says the safe injection sites are part of the government’s approach to combating the current overdose epidemic.

Bill C-37, which became law last month, streamlined the application process for the sites by reducing the information burden on applicants and speeding up the application and renewal processes.

The sites provide sterile equipment, information about drugs, basic health care and addiction treatment referrals.

“No single action is going to put an end to the mounting number of overdoses occurring across the country, and it is crucial that we work together and continue to explore new ways to help us reverse the course of this crisis,” Philpott said in a release.

The Ontario government announced in January that it was committed to funding three supervised injection sites in Toronto and one in Ottawa.

Toronto city council has already approved the supervised injection sites, which are estimated to cost $1.6 million a year to operate.

Last month, Health Canada approved plans to create four supervised injection sites — two in Surrey, B.C., one in Vancouver and a mobile consumption site in Montreal.

In February, Health Canada authorized three supervised injection sites in Montreal, adding to two existing drug injection sites in Vancouver.