During the Sault Ste Marie Municipal Council meeting Mayor Christian Provenzano asked the province once again for help.
“We need help, we don’t have the resources or the infrastructure to address or deal with the opioid crisis that we’ve been dealing with for a number of years now,” said Provenzano. “As Counsellor Dufour noted, to some degree we’ve gone backwards, we don’t have some very basic infrastructure in our community that we need.”
He made the comments after council discussed the arrival of a new community wellness bus. The bus is aimed at reaching out to those most in need in our community.
A few sobering stats were mentioned:
– Sault Ste. Marie’s hospitalization rate for mental illness is 554/100,000 compared to the provincial average of 184 in Ontario.
– Self harm, drug toxicity and opioid toxicity are all seen at rates double the provincial average in the city.
“We need more help from our provincial government and our provincial funding agencies, particularly the Minister of Health and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,” continued Provenzano. “I don’t want anybody out there who is in need of help to think that we are sitting here, thinking the job is done.”
The bus is only the first of many steps local agencies are working on to address the issue. It will hopefully be in the community by the spring, providing proactive instead of reactive care to the community.