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Community Benefits and Cost Savings: The Value of Consumption Treatment Services (CTS)

Ontario’s battle against the drug poisoning crisis has been a challenging one.

Consumption treatment services (CTS) have emerged as a clear solution, offering both community benefits and significant cost savings.

Community Benefits of CTS

CTS provide individuals with a safe, supervised environment. This ensures their well-being and
reduces the risks associated with unsupervised drug use.
Data on supervised consumption sites from 2017 to 2023 in Canada shows:
• At least 361,000 individuals sought services provided by CTS.
• Sites attended to 49,000 overdoses and drug-related medical emergencies with no reported fatalities on-site.
• Sites provided 257,000 referrals to substance use treatment and other health and social services.

With trained professionals on hand, CTS play a pivotal role in preventing overdose-related fatalities. Immediate medical intervention can be the difference between life and death.

Beyond immediate medical care, CTS facilitate access to a range of health and social services.

This includes addiction treatment, mental health support, and housing services, ensuring that individuals receive comprehensive care.

Cost Savings: A Closer Look

In addition to community benefits, peer-reviewed research has revealed the cost-effectiveness of CTS.

Research shows that overdose prevention sites and safe consumption sites result in long-term savings for the health care system, which is the single largest budget item for the province.

Reduced Hospital Admissions

An overdose occurring in public is ten times more likely to lead to a hospital admission compared to one at a CTS. With hospital stays being significantly costlier, CTS offer a more economical solution by addressing overdoses promptly and efficiently.

Preventing Infections

CTS are instrumental in preventing the spread of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C. By providing sterile equipment and promoting safe drug use practices, these sites safeguard the health of their visitors, which translated into cost savings for the health care system as a whole.

Cumulative Savings

An analysis of a CTS in Calgary found that each overdose that is managed at the site produces approximately $1,600 in cost savings, with savings of over $2.3 million in the first two years of
the program.

CTS are more than just a necessary response to the drug poisoning crisis; they are also a fiscally responsible one.

For a deeper dive into the benefits and cost savings of CTS, explore the comprehensive data and research available on Health Canada’s Supervised Consumption Sites and Services page.

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