What impact can a safer drug consumption facility have? Listen to our new podcast

Podcast teaser: What impact can a safer drug consumption facility have?

In 2017 the synthetic opioid fentanyl hit the Canadian city of Toronto and people using drugs started dropping. Drug deaths hit record levels – across the state of Ontario there were 1,270 that year.

Health professionals, activists and drug users called for an emergency response to the toxic drug death crisis facing them. And when authorities failed to set up a safe and supervised place for people to take drugs – known as a safer consumption or overdose prevention facility – activists in the Moss Park neighbourhood of the city  took matters into their own hands.

They gathered supplies and nurses and set up an unsanctioned overdose prevention site in the park which they ran illegally for a year before being granted permission to operate by the health authority. This gave them public funding and allowed them to move into an indoor space

With the UK’s first safer drug consumption facility due to open in Glasgow this summer The Ferret visited the Mosspark Treatment and Consumption Service in Toronto to find out what difference its community-focussed approach can make.

We heard from those struggling to cope with the realities of super-strength fentanyl as well as those whose lives had been saved by the Moss Park team. We heard stories of love and loss, of systemic failure and of the limitations of a service like this.

The toxic drug crisis is ongoing with deaths in Ontario more than doubling to  2,857 in 2021 and continued fears about the contaminated drug supply.

But we heard stories of hope and healing and the impact that being part of a community that cares can have.

To find out more listen to our new one off Ferret podcast – A place to heal: saving lives in Toronto’s toxic drug crisis. It’s available from Monday, 29 April at theferret.scot or wherever you get your podcasts. 

What impact can a safer drug consumption facility have? Listen to our new podcast

Main image: Jeff Bierk

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