Dozens mark International Overdose Awareness Day

An average of 36 people die of overdoses in Ottawa every year and around 60 people gathered at the Human Rights monument on Elgin Street Friday morning to pay tribute to loved ones taken from them too soon.

Rob Boyd, the director of the Oasis program at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre told CFRA they were also using International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness about the issue.

"Most people in Ottawa don't know that there are so many overdose deaths," said Boyd. "Every day in Ottawa there are three to four Ottawa Paramedic calls for overdose, and there are three overdose deaths per month. A lot of people don't know that we have around the same number of overdose deaths as we have traffic fatalities in the city."

Boyd said they would like to see safe-injection sites in the capital - something Police Chief Charles Bordeleau is against.

"We definitely need something like a supervised injection service here in the City of Ottawa," said Boyd. "We have between 3-5,000 marginalized people who use drugs in this city and they would definitely benefit from having this type of a service."

By Alison Sandor
Source: CFRA Ottawa