Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

A, technically, illegal overdose prevention site in the Moss Park of Toronto halted use of a its heated medical tent (Giovannetti, 2017). The heated medical tent was provided by the provincial government, or the Government of Ontario, but the officials on behalf of the government said that there should be no open flames inside of the harm reduction structure.

The Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Eric Hoskin, for Ontario said, last week, that there will be an increase in the provision of resources for dealing with the opioid crisis through the installation of a “military-style tent” (Ibid.).

With windy and cold weather, the warmed harm reduction structure was a refuge for activists and drug users alike. But the commander of the Emergency Medical Assistance Team, or EMAT, of Ontario sent a message to the activists in Moss Park that no flames should be used in the tent. Even though, drugs need heat to be consumed.

The lead organizer of the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, Zoe Dodd, said the medical tent had to be abandoned. Now, the activists and users are based to using old tents without insulation.

Dodd said, “I don’t know if they just don’t understand how drugs are prepared. You have to heat up a drug to break down bacteria and the drug itself. I just don’t understand how this happened.”

Hoskin’s office said that oxygen tanks are stored in the tanks in order to assist with resuscitation if needed at any time, but there is a risk with the possibilities of an open flame.

Laura Gallant, who is a spokesperson for the office of Hoskin, said, that there has a lack of communication between activists and the government since the opening of the site in August.

Gallant said the government is looking to provide industrial grade appliances such as hot plates, which would be safe for a tent. But Dodd rejected the proposal because “people do not use got plates to heat up their drugs.”

Dodd’s volunteers, to date, have apparently reversed 85 overdoses and monitored 2,000 injections.

In the nearly three months the site has been operating, volunteers have reversed 85 overdoses and monitored almost 2,000 injections.

More in the reference.


Giovannetti, J. (2017, November 5). Open-flame ban forces Toronto drug-use site to abandon heated medical tent. Retrieved from