303 Candles: March and Vigil
October 11, 2018
303 CANDLES FOR THE 303 PEOPLE
WHO DIED OF OPIOID OVERDOSE IN 2017
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15
6 - 8 PM
- March will begin at Regent Park CHC, 465 Dundas St. E
- Stop at Street Health, 338 Dundas St. E
- End at Moss Park OPS, 134 Sherboourne St.
Three hundred and three people died from opioid overdose in Toronto in 2017, which is a 63% increase compared to 2016 and a 121% increase compared to 2015.
As our community struggles to respond to this crisis and cope with the tragic and preventable loss of loved ones the provincial government has stalled response efforts by initiating an unnecessary review of Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) services. Overdose Prevention sites are evidence-based services. They offer a stigma-free and caring environment where people can access healthcare, referrals, supplies and safety. Overdose Prevention Sites save lives.
The provincial review of OPSs has delayed the opening of new and previously approved sites across the province. It has left existing sites in a precarious situation and has halted important discussion about other essential resources needed to combat the epidemic of opioid related deaths. This unnecessary review will contribute to preventable illness and death.
Please join us as we come together in grief and rage to mourn our loved ones and demand that the Ontario government:
1. Extend funding to ensure that all OPS’s in Ontario can operate on a long-term basis with adequate hours, staffing and a range of services;
2. Reinstate the application and approval process for organizations across the province looking to open OPS's and immediately open ‘paused’ sites that were already approved;
3. Involve those with lived experience to identify and operationalize realistic, evidence-based strategies that are necessary to effectively address the overdose crisis, including ensuring that people have access to adequate income support, safe affordable housing, and responsive, non-judgmental, and holistic healthcare;
4. End the war on people who use drugs by calling on the federal government to decriminalize drug use, and shift resources from criminalization to provision of health services, including rapidly developing prescription heroin and hydromorphone programs across the province.