Overdose crisis: Belleville calls for help from Ontario government
Belleville is calling the province for resources days after declaring a state of emergency over a rash of drug overdoses in the city.
Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis declared the state of emergency Thursday after crews were called to 17 overdoses in just 24 hours on Feb. 6.
On Monday Ellis said the city has asked the Ontario government for help to fund a community hub for addictions, mental health and homelessness, as well as a detox centre in the city.
“With these resources and supports in place, I am confident that we, as a City, would be able to start making real positive change in our community,” Ellis said in a statement.
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“While we understand that this alone will not solve all of the complex issues that come with drug addiction, mental health and homelessness, we feel that we would at least be better equipped to support our community.”
Work is already underway on a social and health services hub known as “The Bridge” in Belleville, but the city needs an additional $2 million from the province to move the project forward, Ellis said Monday.
Ellis said the city is also asking for provincial help to build a detox centre in Belleville.
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“It is my hope that with this request, the Province recognizes the challenges we are facing and that we can start to have collaborative, meaningful conversation about solutions for these issues moving forward,” Ellis said.
The majority of the Feb. 6 overdoses happened within a two-hour window in the city’s downtown core, which at the time forced police to take the unusual move of asking the public to avoid the downtown during the surge in ambulance traffic.
Belleville’s police chief said Monday that investigators are still working to find a sample of the drugs that led to the overdoses to test.
— with files from Global’s Darryn Davis and The Canadian Press
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.