(TORONTO, October 22, 2018) – Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) welcomes the provincial government’s commitment to consumption and treatment services.
“Our members want to be able to provide services and care that support Ontarians with substance use and mental health challenges to live a better life,” said Adrienne Spafford, AMHO’s CEO. “We’re very pleased to see the government is continuing this life-saving, evidence-based service that meets people where they are and connects them to the supports they need.”
Supervised consumption services have been proven to save lives. They have a successful track record of reducing public drug use, improving community safety, limiting the spread of infectious diseases and supporting people with substance use problems find the health and social services they need – including addiction treatment.
“We know here in Ontario and globally that supervised consumption services help connect people to primary care, counselling, case management, addiction treatment and housing supports,” says Spafford.
In 2017 there were over 1,260 overdose deaths in Ontario, an increase of 45% over the previous year and this is taking a toll on the healthcare system. Supervised consumption sites provide acute services, aimed at reducing the harms related to drug consumption, including overdose deaths, while connecting people to the right services and supports.
AMHO participated in consultation with Minister Elliott, and submitted an evidence brief* that supported maintaining the existing services and expanding access to these services, where warranted. Evidence supporting the need for these programs is clear, and has been noted by many healthcare and community organizations, as well as people with lived experience.
“Too many Ontarians face difficulty accessing the mental health and addictions services they need. That’s why we are looking forward to working with the government on their $3.8 billion investment to create a comprehensive and connected mental health and addiction strategy,” continued Spafford.
Consumption services are one part of the continuum of care in the spectrum of mental health and addiction services. In April 2018, the Ontario government committed to consult with Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, among others on its mental health and addictions strategy.
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About Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
AMHO represents over 200 addictions and mental health care organizations across Ontario. Our members provide services and supports that help Ontarians across the province, including counselling and case management, peer support and family support, employment services, residential treatment, withdrawal management, supportive housing and hospital based programs. As the collective voice of our members, we provide leadership and engage partners to build a comprehensive and accessible system of addiction and mental health care, and improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities in Ontario. We do this through policy work, advocacy initiatives, service development, knowledge exchange, education offerings and quality improvement work.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Adrienne Spafford, please contact:
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
T: 416-490-8900 ext. 239