Downtown St. Catharines has been hit hard by the opioid crisis with the number of deaths and overdoses at an all time high.
There have been concerns raised about drug use and discarded needles throughout the core in particular at Montebello Park.
Fred Bowering, a recovering addict, bikes every day around the downtown core and cleans up the needles.
He says he’s lost a lot of people to the opioid crisis, a growing epidemic in the city and an increasing number of deaths. Last year, 76 people died from opioid overdoses, compared to 40 a year earlier.
The city has added more lights to the pavilion to try to prevent people from camping out and using drugs and also more signs telling people the park is closed at night.
The Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Niagara Region says St. Catharines has become a hot spot for the opioid crisis.
The city and these agencies are working together to fight it. Positive Living Niagara provides counselling services and safe injection supplies, including Naloxone kits.
An overdose prevention site, previously approved back in May for St. Catharines, was put on hold pending a review of these sites by the Ford government last month.
Everyone says there is a need for that site in the city and are hopeful once the provincial review is finished they will be able to move ahead.