Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

‘This is urgent:’ Mayor calls for county-wide summit to address homelessness, addiction

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia’s mayor is calling for a county-wide summit to address the ‘urgent’ state of homelessness and addiction in Sarnia-Lambton.

“We need to have a discussion on these issues and how we’re going to get through this winter,” Bradley told Lambton County Council, Wednesday. “And yes, I recognize there are plans in place, but also, I think, from anecdotal information, that we need to up our game.

“And we need to have a lot of the groups talking to each other.”

Bradley pointed to a successful energy and environment summit held in May that brought together citizens, stakeholders and community partners to address concerns and challenges faced by local industry.

He’s proposing a similar event to address the region’s crippling housing and addiction crisis, slated for sometime in the new year.

A recent spike in suspected drug-related deaths prompted Lambton Public Health to issue an alert last week, reminding drug users and their caregivers to be aware of overdose signs, and have access to Naloxone kits.

According to the health unit’s latest opioid surveillance report, both the year-to-date rate of opioid-related ED visits in Lambton, and local rate of opioid related deaths per 100,000 continue to exceed the provincial rate.

Some 664 Naloxone kits were distributed in September alone.

“I can tell you, in the urban areas, there’s still a lack of understanding of what the role of the county is in these key critical issues and the funding the county receives,” Bradley said.

“But I think that if we could spend three or four hours as a county, as a community, as the elected body, along with all the other key players… that’s what I’m moving; that this summit take place in the new year and that the county facilitate it.”

The motion, seconded by Coun. Brian White, was approved.

More like this