London, ON – Ontario’s first legal Temporary Overdose Prevention Site (TOPS) opens its doors on Monday, February 12th. The site at 186 King Street was announced at a news conference on January 19th, along with $130,000 in provincial funding and the granting of an exemption under the criminal code. The TOPS will be imbedded within the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection; which is also one of the sites of the Counterpoint Needle and Syringe Program and is already familiar for people who inject drugs.
Intended to prevent opioid overdoses and deaths, temporary overdose prevention sites were part of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s expansion of its response to Ontario’s opioid drug crisis. Staffing at the London TOPS will be drawn from employees of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, the Canadian Mental Health Association, London Intercommunity Health Centre, the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, London CAReS and Addiction Services of Thames Valley.
There will be an opportunity for local media to visit London’s TOPS at 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening, after the conclusion of the site’s first day of business. Members of the media who are interested in taking part in this facility walk-through are asked to contact Dan Flaherty at the numbers listed below.
Please note: It is very important for clients who access the TOPS to have confidence that their confidentiality will be maintained. Because there is the potential for stigmatization of those who use the facility, the TOPS partners would ask that the media please respect the privacy and dignity of those who will seek services at the site.
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit,
519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)
Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health/CEO, Middlesex-London Health Unit
Brian Lester, Executive Director, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection