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Nov 13, 2023
Ontario’s battle against the drug poisoning crisis has been a challenging one.
Consumption treatment services (CTS) have emerged as a clear solution, offering both community benefits and significant cost savings.
Community Benefits of CTS
CTS provide individuals with a safe, supervised environment. This ensures their well-being and reduces the risks associated with unsupervised drug use.
Data on supervised consumption sites from 2017 to 2023 in Canada shows:
With trained professionals on hand, CTS play a pivotal role in preventing overdose-related fatalities. Immediate medical intervention can be the difference between life and death.
Beyond immediate medical care, CTS facilitate access to a range of health and social services. This includes addiction treatment, mental health support, and housing services, ensuring that individuals receive comprehensive care.
Cost Savings: A Closer Look
In addition to community benefits, peer-reviewed research has revealed the cost-effectiveness of CTS.
Research shows that overdose prevention sites and safe consumption sites result in long-term savings for the health care system, which is the single largest budget item for the province.
Reduced Hospital Admissions
An overdose occurring in public is ten times more likely to lead to a hospital admission compared to one at a CTS. With hospital stays being significantly costlier, CTS offer a more economical solution by addressing overdoses promptly and efficiently.
CTS are instrumental in preventing the spread of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C. By providing sterile equipment and promoting safe drug use practices, these sites safeguard the health of their visitors, which translated into cost savings for the health care system as a whole.
An analysis of a CTS in Calgary found that each overdose that is managed at the site produces approximately $1,600 in cost savings, with savings of over $2.3 million in the first two years of the program.
CTS are more than just a necessary response to the drug poisoning crisis; they are also a fiscally responsible one.
For a deeper dive into the benefits and cost savings of CTS, explore the comprehensive data and research available on Health Canada’s Supervised Consumption Sites and Services page.