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Vale donation keeps Sudbury consumption site open for another month

Vale Base Metals has made a $75,000 donation to keep the city’s embattled supervised consumption site open for another month as Réseau ACCESS Network launches corporate bridging support campaign
Event organizer Kryslyn Mohan of N'Swakamok Harm Reduction Coalition (left) leads a rally to drop a banner over the bridge on Elgin Street on Nov. 30.

The Spot, Sudbury’s supervised consumption site, will be able to run through the month of January after receiving $75,000 in funding from Vale Base Metals.

“We are pleased to announce the generous commitment of Vale Base Metals, a steadfast partner in community well-being,” said a press release from Réseau ACCESS Network.

“In a demonstration of corporate responsibility, Vale Base Metals has pledged $75,000 to sustain 'The Spot' through the month of January 2024. This substantial contribution ensures

the continuation of vital harm reduction services and support services for individuals in need.”

The supervised consumption site has been pushing for the provincial funding they applied for two years ago with greater urgency as it got closer to its existing funding’s end date, Dec. 31. 

The booths at The Spot, Sudbury's supervised consumption site. The new steel counters help to see the substance more clearly and to aid with clean-up. File

The Spot has been awaiting funding from the province since it began its operations. Lacking provincial dollars, it ran on $1.094 million from City of Greater Sudbury coffers, as well as $100,000 from Vale and $30,000 from Wheaton. 

But this year, the City of Greater Sudbury’s draft budget, which was tabled in November and will be debated by city council in December, will not include funding for the supervised consumption site.

The site was set to close without further funding. Should the site close, it would erase the positive impact it has had on the drug crisis, Réseau said, and prevent further benefits that result from the consumption site.

"This facility offers essential services such as access to health-care and harm-reduction professionals, education, sterile equipment, supervised consumption services, social services, and rapid response in case of overdose,” Réseau said in the release. “With over 300 monthly visits and the successful reversal of 20+ overdoses, The Spot is a lifeline for our community.”

Since 2018, Réseau said there has been a 346-per-cent increase in overdose deaths. In 2022, 112 Sudburians died from overdose.

The number of successful overdose reversals would be higher, Réseau said, if the Spot were located in location that is more accessible for the people who need its services. 

Upon securing funding, 'The Spot' will embark on a transformative move to a downtown location,” the release states. “Réseau ACCESS Network recognizes the pressing need for this relocation, as its main site on Larch sees upwards of 100 people a day and, in one year, reversed 89 overdoses right in front of its doors. This move will enhance accessibility and further strengthen the impact of life-saving services in the heart of the community.

Réseau ACCESS Network, the lead organization for The Spot, is launching a campaign to secure bridging support for the supervised consumption site.

“This crucial facility plays a pivotal role in providing life-saving services to individuals navigating the unregulated drug toxicity crisis, and we urgently seek industry support to ensure its uninterrupted operation,” said Heidi Eisenhauer, executive director of Réseau ACCESS Network.

Réseau ACCESS Network is extending an invitation to industry leaders to stand alongside Vale Base Metals in championing The Spot.

The sponsorship campaign seeks to secure contributions of $75,000 a month. “This funding will  sustain life-saving services for one month as we patiently anticipate the provincial response to our 2021 application,” said a press release.

“Your active participation will directly shape the destinies of vulnerable community members, champion human dignity and foster positive community engagement for those in need.”