Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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All news inquiries can be directed to a central email mediainquiry@smdhu.org

The central phone line is 705-721-7520 ext. 8533

Board of Health Notes February 6, 2019

Feb 19, 2019
Board of Health chair and vice-chair elected Update on supervised consumption site application

Board of Health chair and vice-chair elected

Anita Dubeau, Town of Penetanguishene Deputy Mayor, has been acclaimed as chair of the Board of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Ralph Cipolla, City of Orillia Councillor, has been acclaimed as vice-chair of the board. Election of the two executive positions to the Board of Health is conducted annually at the first board meeting of the year.

The Board of Health is currently made up of 14 members: elected representatives from the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka, the City of Barrie and the City of Orillia. There are also currently five provincial appointees. More information about the Board of Health can be found on the health unit’s website, www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

Update on supervised consumption site application

Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lisa Simon, updated the board on the application for a supervised consumption site (SCS) in Barrie for people who use drugs. Led by the health unit, the Gilbert Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association - Simcoe Branch, the application process requires thorough community stakeholder and general public consultation and engagement. The SMHDU is leading the community consultation and engagement process in Barrie, which includes an open house, surveys and meetings with stakeholders, with plans for a completed consultation report in spring 2019. Endorsement by the City of Barrie council will be sought for the provincial application.

The number and rate of emergency department (ED) visits in Barrie remains substantially higher than other communities in Simcoe Muskoka and is a critical factor in assessing the feasibility of an SCS. The central north area of Barrie (which includes downtown) had ten-times the rate of Opioid Overdose ED visits in 2017 compared with the provincial average, and four-times the overall Barrie average. Evidence shows that supervised consumption sites mitigate overdose-related harms and unsafe drug use behaviours, as well as facilitate uptake of addiction treatment and other health and social services among people who use drugs.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place on Feb. 20 at 9:15 a.m. in the Barrie office, 15 Sperling Drive.

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