Lisa Vezeau-Allen Address Addiction, Homelessness and Poverty


Ward 2 Candidate Lisa Vezeau-Allen, who is passionate about improving the downtown core of our community and finding a comprehensive solution to the Sault’s drug, homelessness and poverty problems, came into the ONNtv studios to share her take on how to address these issues.

She sent in the following release on the matter.

Sault Ste. Marie, we are not alone in our drug situation. The statistics, unfortunately
support what people have been saying to me, when I ask what concerns them in their
neighbourhoods, in our city and in our greater community. The instances of crime are
also high priorities in the minds of our citizens, and certainly directly related to the
increase in drug use.

Is there an easy solution? Can one organization “fix” the problem?

No, I firmly believe that we need a task force with key personnel to work together, firstly understanding the why (as Dr. Tam reports, poverty and homelessness are chief causes for opioid use), and moving onto an action plan. Health and Safety are my top two priorities (as determined by the needs of my community), and on this task force we need law enforcement, addiction counsellors, justice, medical professionals, social service agencies and city representatives, to come together and become informed, to create solutions, not blame.
We cannot hold any one department, division, organization accountable. We need to
work together in collaboration to change the statistics listed below.

From 2018 Community Health Profile (Algoma Public Health)
Opioids are a major cause of drug toxicity hospitalizations in Algoma. The rates of
hospitalizations for opioid toxicity in 2017 were as follows:
45.7 per 100,000 people in Algoma,
27.2 per 100,000 people in the NE LHIN, and 1
14.6 per 100,000 people in Ontario.
There were 15 deaths due to opioid overdoses in Algoma in 2016
More than 11 Canadians are dying every day on average because of opioids, according
to new data from the federal government. (Carly Weeks: Globe and Mail; September
18, 2018)

Poverty and homelessness are among the chief causes of the opioid crisis, and many
Canadians simply do not see its effects, she said, adding that focusing on these issues,
rather than drug use, would help.