Needs of drug users must be balanced with interests of residents: Ford

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TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford says his government is shutting down some overdose-prevention sites in a bid to balance the concerns of neighbourhood residents with the needs of people who use drugs.

The province announced on Friday that 15 sites had been approved under a new model, but six previously licensed sites were not given the green light — including three in Toronto.

It said two of those Toronto sites will start winding down operations and a third is still under review.

Ford says one Toronto neighbourhood had four sites under the old model, which he says was too many.

He says that while his government is committed to helping people with opioid addictions, their needs must be weighed against the interests of people who live nearby.

But Gillian Kolla of the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society says that if people aren’t using drugs at such sites, they will be overdosing in alleys and fast food bathrooms — a situation she says isn’t in anyone’s interest.