Ontario to keep overdose-prevention sites

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TORONTO — Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province will continue to fund overdose-prevention sites but will change their name and focus.

Elliott says a review of the sites has concluded the existing model must shift from overdose prevention to also include a longer-term goal of helping drug users receive treatment and rehabilitation services.

The minister says the province will approve no more than 21 overdose-prevention sites and the existing facilities can apply to continue to operate under the new government model.

The Progressive Conservatives paused the planned openings of several sites this summer as they reviewed the future of the program, a move that drew criticism from harm-prevention workers and many in the medical community.

Overdose-prevention sites are temporary facilities approved by the province following a federal decision to grant an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Safe-injection sites, meanwhile, are more permanent locations approved by the federal government after a more extensive application process.

The Canadian Press