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December 14, 2018

Toronto Public Health submits application to continue providing supervised injection and treatment services
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has submitted an application to the new provincial Consumption and Treatment Services program, which replaces the former Supervised Injection Services program. If approved, the continuation of these services will ensure that people at risk of overdose are able to access this life-saving service, as they have since August 2017.

"The opioid overdose crisis is the defining health issue of our time. Supervised consumption services save lives and are an important part of the response to this crisis," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "We are losing family members, friends and colleagues, and must do more to address this urgent public health issue."

Data from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario (OCCO) confirm there were 308 opioid overdose deaths in Toronto in 2017. While data are still coming in from the OCCO for 2018, preliminary data indicate there were 111 opioid toxicity deaths in Toronto in the first six months. This number is expected to rise as the cause of more deaths is confirmed. These preliminary data show that a higher percentage of these deaths occurred among people who are experiencing homelessness compared to the rest of Ontario. Further, they show that half of all opioid deaths in Toronto occurred among people aged 25 to 44.

In addition, a one-year review of paramedic data found that while the downtown area of the city had 36 per cent of the total calls for suspected overdose, it had only 19 per cent of fatal calls. This could be attributed to a higher density of harm reduction services in this area, including supervised consumption services, which reinforces the need for these health services in the city.

"These health services provide a safer and hygienic environment for people who use drugs under the supervision of trained staff. They also reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, and public drug use," added Dr. de Villa.

To date there have been more than 28,000 visits to TPH's supervised consumption service. More than 450 overdoses were reversed and lives saved. More information, including new data from the OCCO, is available online at

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

Media Contact
Lenore Bromley
Toronto Public Health



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