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Safe injection site expands to Saturday, rebrands

Simpson Street consumption and treatment service clinic will now be known as Path525.

THUNDER BAY – The city’s safe injection site will soon become a seven-day-a-week operation.

It’s also got a new name.

Juantia Lawson, CEO of the NorWest Community Health Centre, on Thursday announced the consumption and treatment service has rebranded at Path525 and will open on Saturdays for now and expand to Sundays in the new year.

“We actually are funded to scale up to seven days a week,” Lawson said. “Just as of last weekend we started operating additional services on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the new year we’ll be looking at being open on Sunday as well, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

Lawson said adding the extra two days is good for those looking to safely inject drugs with the supervision of a nurse.

The goal is to prevent as many overdoses and deaths from narcotics as possible.

“We know those people who are injecting, having access to services with a nurse under supervision is really important,” Lawson said.

“We know the number of overdoses in our community and the demand that it’s taking for individuals to respond – whether it’s family or our emergency medical services – so we’re hoping to reduce that burden, but more importantly provide a space that individuals will come, where they’ll feel safe and where they’ll have an opportunity under medical supervision to really do it in a safe manner.”

The new name, Path525, said the idea germinated in discussions between the health centre and Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, a chance to rebrand with a more user-friendly name.

“We felt that it was important and necessary to take a look at a brand or a logo or something that clients might understand and be a little bit simpler in terms of just understanding what it is we’re trying to do,” Lawson said.

“It’s really encompassing the fact that individuals can come to our site and inject substances that they might bring in, but that it is also a door and a pathway to other services.”

It’s all about reducing barriers, Lawson added.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 19 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Wants his Expos back. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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