Cleaner and safer streets. Healthier communities.

The Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa was formed in response to an ongoing health crisis.

Ottawa has Ontario’s highest rate of new HIV infection among injection drug users. 11% of people who inject drugs in Ottawa are infected with HIV, while 70% have contracted hepatitis C. Someone dies of drug overdose every 8 days in our city — deaths that could be prevented with timely medical intervention.

Supervised consumption sites are public health facilities that offer a safe, hygienic place where people can use their own drugs under medical supervision. 

Canada’s first supervised injection site, Insite, has been operating since 2003 in downtown Vancouver. The evidence from Insite  – and from over 90 such sites around the world – proves that supervised consumption sites reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV, prevent overdose deaths, and improve access to addiction treatment programs. They have also been shown to encourage cleaner, safer streets by reducing public drug use and drug equipment litter.

Opening supervised drug consumption sites in Ottawa would:
  • Reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis-C by providing sterile equipment and safe disposal for used needles
  • Prevent deaths caused by overdose
  • Decrease public drug use and drug-equipment litter
  • Provide access to health and social services, such as first aid treatment and addiction recovery programs

Sign the petition to show your support for supervised drug consumption services in Ottawa.

Upcoming meeting - October 20

Our organizers group will meet twice in October:

  • Sunday October 4th, 2pm at Somerset West Community Health Centre (map). The meeting room is on the 3rd floor, please ring the doorbell at the Eccles St. entrance if the door is locked.
  • Tuesday October 20th, 7:30pm at Bluebird Coffee on Dalhousie near St. Patrick (map).

CSCS is a grassroots group of community members who are passionate about creating a healthier Ottawa. We meet on the first Sunday of each month at Somerset West CHC, and the third Tuesday of each month at Bluebird Coffee. If you're interested in getting involved with our campaign to bring supervised injection to Ottawa, please join in!

Group advocates for safer injection sites in Ottawa

She was a nurse who got hooked on prescription painkillers after a serious car crash, and when she lost the services of her doctor, turned to the streets to feed her addiction.

"That's how I found out about Ottawa's underground," she said, sharing her story (though not her name) for the first time at Wednesday's symposium on supervised injection sites (SIS), hosted at the University of Ottawa.

"If there would have been something like (Vancouver's supervised injection site) Insite at that time, maybe I would have gotten out sooner."

Instead, seven years of her life spiraled out of control, her nursing career crushed under the weight of the criminal record now shadowing her.

Her story was one of many shared by panelists at the community discussion, launched by the Campaign for Safe Consumption Sites in Ottawa on the fourth anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that advocates cite as proof of Insite's "positive impact on the surrounding community and (as) a cost-saving measure."

Sept. 30th Supervised Injection Services Discussion

Sept 30 2015 event

September 30th, 2015 is the 4th year since the Supreme Court of Canada made the decision to keep Vancouver’s Insite open.

CSCS with many partner agencies will be hosting a community discussion with students, nurses, activists, researchers, and people who use drugs on the need for supervised consumption services in Ottawa. 

Time: Wednesday, September 30, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: 147B Fauteux Hall, University of Ottawa Campus (map)
R.S.V.P. on Facebook 

Refreshments provided as well as whisper translation in French.

Partner agencies:

ALT101 workshop event: safer consumption and harm reduction

ALT101 event

On September 15th from 6-9pm, CSCS will present a workshop on harm reduction and supervised drug consumption practices at 48 rue Frontenac in Hull as part of OPIRG-GRIPO's ALT101 week.

Harm reduction is an action that takes shape in many different ways. Safer drug consumption is not limited to the drug, but also includes harm reduction actions such as drinking water, using with a friend, creating stigma-free spaces. Ranging from institutional services to personal actions, during this workshop, we will discuss a variety of harm reduction services and practices that can be used for safer drug consumption. This includes, but is not limited to, supervised injection sites. By discussing the various ways that harm reduction is used, we will connect personal strategies with the broader need for a diversity of harm reduction services, and supervised injection sites in particular, in Ottawa. The workshop will be interactive so we can learn from each other about what harm reduction and safer drug consumption means.

This event will also include a workshop on Deconstructing Intoxication Culture: Community, Accessibility and Sober Spaces presented by From the Margins.

Ce sera un événement bilingue en français et anglais. Please RSVP on Facebook.

Nurses want supervised injection sites to be an election issue this fall

Ottawa nursing professor Marilou Gagnon recently started a grassroots coalition called Nurses for Supervised Injection Sites. Gagnon says the sites aren’t just places for people to inject drugs in a safer environment – it’s a place to get educated, and a way to link a marginalized group with treatment and health services. It can also save lives, by reducing overdoses and testing for diseases.

Ottawa Overdose Awareness Day rally 2015

Coverage of Overdose Awareness Day in Ottawa on CBC.

Jennifer Bigelow shared her own personal story of drug use and overdose with CBC's Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco. In the extended interview below, she calls on politicians to stop playing games with people's lives and open supervised consumption services in Ottawa.

Advocates for overdose prevention rally at Ottawa city hall

Drug users, recovering addicts and sober allies demanded local supervised safe injection sites and more access to naloxone — a substance that works as an antidote to overdose — during a rally on International Overdose Awareness Day Monday.

A group of about 50 people protested at the annual event, organized by the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and held at the Human Rights Memorial by city hall on Elgin Street. Set on the monument were 45 pairs of shoes, each a testament to one of the lives lost to drug overdoses in Ottawa last year.

A mile in 45 pairs of shoes: Rally honours victims of drug overdose

Crowd calls for supervised injection site, more access to overdose antidote naloxone after Ottawa paramedics responded to 2,600 calls for overdoses last year.

It took three overdoses before Jennifer Bigelow got the help she needed.

A drug addict of 31 years, Bigelow started sniffing lines at 16, then turned to sex work to feed her drive for crack and needles. She woke up from that third scary overdose to her best friend breathing life into her body.

Overdoses killing dozens in Ottawa, activists say

Forty-five pairs of shoes lined the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street on Monday, representing the estimated number of people who died from drug overdoses in Ottawa last year.

In accordance with International Overdose Awareness Day, members of Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites and Drug Users Advocacy League called for supervised injection sites in Ottawa to prevent drug overdoses and to challenge what they say is the stigma faced by drug users.


Subscribe to CSCS Ottawa RSS