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Mayor says opioid crisis solutions must be found locally

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Mayor Dan Carter says solutions to the ongoing opioid crisis will need to come on a local level.

Carter recently attended a “summit” on the crisis held in Peterborough.

He told The Oshawa Express he viewed his trip as somewhat of a “fact-finding” mission.

“I wanted to find out what their discussions were, what they are doing differently that we are not doing, and what kind of solutions they are looking at,” Carter says.

Oshawa’s head of council says every community faces “complex issues” unique to them during the opioid crisis.

Carter says those he spoke too from Peterborough are in favour of a safe consumption site in the city.

Last fall, the provincial government announced consumption and treatment sites (CTS) would replace the former model of supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites.

In late-March, Oshawa city council declined to support an application to bring a CTS to the city.

But Carter says Peterborough seems “committed that safe consumption sites are something vital to their community.”

He says when the discussion came up in Oshawa, there was misinformation in the community.

“I don’t think there was enough public conversation about what a safe consumption site was, what it meant, and why it is important,” Carter remarks.

Because council declined the application, there is no active campaign to bring a safe consumption site to Oshawa.

But if the issue comes up again, Carter says there needs to be a better understanding.

“Even without the discussion about opening a safe consumption site here in Oshawa, I think it’s necessary we educate people about why it is important.”

Opportunities such as the summit in Peterborough need to continue, Carter adds.

“Everybody is saying the same thing – we absolutely have to understand we are in a moment of crisis, and we need every idea and every concept to come forward,” he says. “Municipalities of all sizes need to take this seriously because it is killing people left, right and centre.”

While council is currently on summer recess, Carter told The Express he plans to make an announcement about the opioid crisis and poverty reduction before September.