Statement of Unity: Responding to the drug poisoning and opioid overdose crisis in Peterborough
**The following statement was written in Spring 2019 and endorsed by Peterborough Drug Strategy partners in response to opioid-related harms in our community. Please consider signing this statement to demonstrate your support for an urgent, public health response to opioid harms in Peterborough. We especially welcome endorsements from groups, organizations, businesses and individuals who wish to help amplify this message throughout the community.**
November 1, 2019
Over 12,800 lives have been lost to opioid overdose and drug poisoning in Canada since 2016, with dozens of deaths in Peterborough over the past 3 years.
We condemn this needless loss of life, which will continue to increase as long as our community lacks the critical supports and services that are necessary to keep people alive.
Because one life lost to opioids is one too many, we pledge to do everything we can to end this crisis.
We come together to acknowledge the serious and escalating harm this crisis is inflicting on our community: from lives lost to debilitating addictions and poisoned drugs, to the incalculable emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial impact on individuals, families, first responders, front-line workers, emergency services, and our community as a whole.
We stand behind the substantial and conclusive body of evidence that proves the effectiveness of overdose prevention and harm reduction services in promoting health and saving lives. We will continue to explore a full range of innovative options for protecting health and safety.
We are dedicated to challenging stigma and other harmful behaviours that fuel substance use and prevent people from accessing health care, treatment, housing, and other critical social supports. We also recognize that ending stigma begins as an internal process of considering our own deeply held attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs. To this end, we commit to challenging stigma in both our personal and professional lives.
We honour the complex and diverse experiences of people directly affected by substance use, and we are committed to the long-term work of building a safe and inclusive community where everyone can live in safety and free of stigma and discrimination.
We know that addiction is a complex health issue that is protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. To ensure we are capable of responding to the complex needs that exist among people experiencing harms related to substance use, we recognize the need for a collaborative response that brings together multiple sectors of our community, including the four pillars of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement.
We are unified in our conviction that our community cannot tolerate more loss. As we work collectively and with urgency to address this crisis, we also commit to a response that is compassionate and courageous, which rejects judgment and promotes hope over fear. We will continue this work until our community is safe from harm.
As we work diligently to end this crisis, we are united in our belief that Peterborough needs a facility that will address the immediate health needs of people most impacted by the opioid crisis. For this reason, we support current efforts to apply to the Federal and Provincial governments to open and operate a Consumption and Treatment Services site in Peterborough as soon as possible.
We invite you sign this statement.
SIGNED ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, AND BUSINESSES
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