In the town hall, organized by Sudbury MPP Jamie West, on Thursday, defenders were discussing up when they fought for safe injection sites.
As a healthcare professional for health care, Ariella Zbar, Sudbury & Districts Public Health, struggled, a man in a crowd of 50 spoke, saying cities promoted only addicts, leading to the crisis that hit North America.
"If they are allowed more, they will do more," said the man.
Not so, Zbar replied. Although they do not reduce use, studies have shown that safe sites do not increase addiction. In fact, they allow addicts access to treatment and education, she said, and prevent infections, illness and overdoses.
"The essence of reducing damage is not to prevent the use of drugs, but to prevent drug-related harm," she said after a meeting at United Way at Cambrian Heights. "It's a meeting of people where they are. To continue using it, they continue to use it in a safe way.
"This gives them a safe place for this, they are accepted for those who are and access to services that are often rejected because they are stigmatized populations."
No one claims that there are sites for injection solutions, Zbar said. A genuine solution to this problem will be the entire community effort, with the teams involved in a common strategy.
"Controlled (injection sites) are only part of the image. I think this is an important condition here."
Julie Gorman, Program Coordinator with the Sudbury Youth Action Center, presented to the crowd how different the addicts are, from young people who are aged 13 years old who are struggling with chronic pain.
"None of the people decided to become addicted to opioids," said Gorman.
However, vulnerable populations are more likely to experience drug use. Gorman said that about 60 percent of sex workers, for example, regularly use opioids.
He said that he was lenient. For example, in the Downtown area, the visible areas have been pushed and workers are now looking for needles in dangerous areas, such as waterways and power stations.
"Do not forget that it's not just Sudbury" that deals with the crisis, Gorman said. "This is Canada and the world – everywhere.
"We try to raise (addicts). We are where we try to help them as a person … (but) we need the community we buy."
Zbar said that a safe injection site would help addiction from the city streets and reduce the worrying number of discarded needles found in the center and other areas.
"If people who are discarded (needles) in a community can use them in a controlled location, it means they are not on the streets. It also means that there are no overdoses. If they are not in a safe and supervised place, they will die or end up in hospital. "
And this only increases overcrowding in emergencies, Zbar said.
The West said that he hoped that Thursday's meeting would lead to a deeper debate on what we can do as a community to deal with the crisis. While some people achieve simple solutions, such as addicts who have been imprisoned, he said that they know that this does not work and only stops the already busy justice system.
"It's a more complicated conversation than that," West said. "We thought, therefore, that we should bring some people who are experts and open the education community.
"We are planning more of these … just to get information there to help people understand what's going on. This is a crisis, as one speaker said, affecting everyone, all socio-economic (classes), men, women, young and old. "
Regarding the solutions, West said they are still far away.
"I think we are in the early stages," he said. "I think people have ignored him for a long time until they started to observe where they live, or have hurt someone they know.
"There is no silver bullet, but I think this is the first good step."
More information on the Greater Sudbury Drugs Strategy can be found on the Public Health website.