Consumption and Treatment Site

What is a Consumption and Treatment Site (CTS)?

Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) sites are part of a range of proven strategies to address the harms and impacts of substance use. CTS sites offer comprehensive, compassionate, and evidence-based services that support prevention, harm reduction, and treatment for people who use drugs.

CTS sites provide a safe space for a person to use pre-obtained substances (individuals must bring their own supplies) under the supervision of harm reduction workers and medical staff. Individuals are provided with a range of sterile harm reduction supplies, education on safer consumption practices, overdose prevention and intervention (i.e. use of oxygen and naloxone), and medical and counselling services. In addition, supports such as referrals to drug treatment, mental health services, housing, primary care, indigenous support, income support and other services are also offered at the site.

Why do we need a CTS in Windsor?

In the past five years the Windsor-Essex County region has been facing an increased rate of use and  deaths  related to opioids and other drugs.  Consumption treatment services (CTS) have the potential to address public health issues such as the discarding of needles in public spaces and the prevention of deaths related to overdoses. CTS also have the potential to reduce the number of overdose & substance related emergency room visits, EMT and Police related 911 calls.

Benefits for the community

Research shows that supervised injections services provide many benefits both for individuals using the services and for the community, including:

  • Reduced drug overdoses, poisonings, and deaths
  • Reduced risk factors leading to the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis
  • Reduced unsafe consumption practices
  • Increased use withdrawal management services (detox) and drug treatment services
  • Connection and referral to other health and social services
  • Reduced public drug use and less publicly discarded needles
  • Cost-effective use of focused harm reduction supports and staff

CTS Media Event
Video Recording

On June 17, 2021, a media event was held to provide background about Consumption and Treatment Services, the two proposed locations in Windsor, and to launch the online survey. During the event, media representatives had a chance to ask questions to a panel of experts.

Frequently asked questions

Overall, these services are quite similar. They both provide clients with a safe space to use pre-obtained substances under supervision of trained staff. In Ontario, these sites are required to have staff to supervise substance use, and they must offer a range of support services to their clients, such as a connection to withdrawal management services, mental health services, housing and income support, and other services.

These sites are safe and do not contribute to more crime in the neighborhood where they are located. Sites are located in neighborhoods where there is a demonstrated need, and aim to reduce the impacts of drug use on the community to enhance safety for both clients and the community.

Specifically, they promote safety for clients by supporting the use of sterile supplies, and by having supervision on site. The CTS site provides clients a location to use drugs, reducing public drug use and loitering in the neighborhood. Using these sites also aims to reduce the presence of drug paraphernalia in the surrounding area, improving community safety.

Studies have found that crime rates do not increase around a CTS. All partners on the project are committed to maintaining a safe environment. As a partner on this project, Windsor Police Service will work to ensure the safety of the CTS staff, clients, and the surrounding community.

Yes. In Canada, supervised consumption services operate under an exemption in Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The exemption allows for the operation of health services without the risk of its clients or staff being charged with the crime of having illegal drugs. The services delivered at a CTS are deemed necessary for medical purpose, or for public interest.

There is no evidence that harm reduction services, such as a CTS, promote drug use. These services are mainly used by individuals with a history of drug use. Additionally, there is no evidence that CTS sites do not cause relapse (e.g., start using drugs again after a period of abstinence), or prevent people from stopping.

Sites have not been found to increase criminal activity in their vicinity. A CTS is one piece of a comprehensive strategy to improve the health and safety of the community pertaining to drug use. Enforcement related to illicit drugs is another component of the strategy, and our local law enforcement will continue their ongoing work to address substance use issues in our region.

To date, research has not looked at the impact of these services on property values. However, in Toronto, it was found that supportive housing programs (including those for individuals with substance use issues) did not have an impact on surrounding property values.

Clients arrive at the CTS site with their own drugs and is assessed by staff for eligibility. They receive sterile equipment and education on safer use. A trained staff supervises their use and oversees the client in a waiting room following use to monitor any negative reactions. Staff will promote support services to clients, and assist in making the connections when clients are ready to take that step. Additional education, social supports, and information are available on-site.

Consumption and Treatment Services are one part of a harm reduction and prevention strategy. Staff on site will provide clients with prevention and treatment education and supports. Additionally, work will continue in the other pillars identified by the WECOSS (e.g., prevention and education; treatment and recovery; enforcement and justice).

Yes. Consultations have been completed, including a number of focus groups and online surveys.

Specifically, community consultations took place between October 2018 to April 2019. During this time, 2520 online surveys were submitted, five focus groups took place, and 20 one-on-one interviews were completed. Key findings include:

  • 61% of survey respondents said a safe injection site (now referred to as consumption and treatment service site) would be helpful for Windsor and Essex County
  • 71% of respondents who identified as a person who injected drugs said they would consider using a site if it were available
  • A majority of respondents thought the area of the downtown core of Windsor would be a well-served location

To read the report from these consultations, visit our Reports page.

Input will continue to be gathered throughout the project.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (S.C. 1996, c.19). 

Government of Canada. Supervised consumption sites and services: Explained. (Accessed June, 2021). Available: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/supervised-consumption-sites/explained.html

Marshall B.D.L., et al. (2011). Reduction in overdose mortality after the opening of North America’s first medically supervised safer injecting facility: A retrospective population-based study. Lancet. Published online April 18, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62353-7.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. (2019). SIS Community Consultation Report. Available: https://www.wechu.org/sis-community-consultation-reports 

Wood, E., et al. (2005). Factors Associated with Syringe Sharing Among Users of a Medically Supervised Safer Injecting Facility. American Journal of Infectious Diseases. 1. 10.3844/ajidsp.2005.50.54.