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 60% have contracted hepatitis C. Someone dies of drug overdose every 10 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.
Lives can be saved by reducing the stigma around drug overdose and making an overdose-reversing drug more readily available, according to people at a rally in downtown Ottawa Friday.
The rally, held before Sunday’s International Overdose Awareness Day, commemorated 32 people killed by drug overdoses in Ottawa over the last year by laying out 32 pairs of shoes on the Human Rights Monument.
The man’s face was purple. The whites of his eyes stared out, the pupils rolled back into his head. He was sweating profusely, his tongue hanging from his mouth.
When Sean LeBlanc opened the door to the rooming house hallway last summer, it was clear to the former addict what was happening.
“It was an opiate overdose,” he said. “I’d seen it before.”
LeBlanc sprang into action. He grabbed a naloxone kit — a device similar to an EpiPen — and injected the life-saving antidote into his friend’s shoulder.
It took less than 15 seconds for LeBlanc to empty the tiny vial and remove the retractable safety needle.
“Thanks to the naloxone training I could bring him back.”
He’s one of 93 people who have gone through Ottawa Public Health’s Peer Overdose Prevention Program (POPP) — one of the free harm reduction strategies available in the capital. It launched two years ago to coincide with the annual International Overdose Awareness Day, marked in Ottawa Friday at the Human Rights Monument at 11:30 a.m.
On August 29th at 11:30am the Ottawa community will gather at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street to mark International Overdose Awareness Day and commemorate those who have been affected by overdose.
This year’s event will explore the stigma faced by people who use drugs and their families, and will include guest speakers with lived experience.
Supporters of the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites will gather at 10:15am at the corner of Cumberland and Clarence in the ByWard Market. Together we'll walk to the Human Rights Monument in order to raise awareness that safer consumption sites can save lives and reduce overdose deaths in our community.
Please join us and add your support as we walk to this important event.
CSCS and DUAL will co-host a workshop on grassroots organizing for supervised consumption sites at the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa.
Time: Friday August 22 2014, 4:30-6pm Location: Room 323 of Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa
The Peoples’ Social Forum will be a key place to mobilize groups from various communities that advocate for the opening of safer consumptions sites for people who use drugs. In this workshop, we will share our experiences and strategize on how to push for safer consumption services across Canada.
The success of Insite in Vancouver BC, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2011 to keep it open, should have led to the opening of more of these life saving services in other Canadian cities. Yet the moralization of safer consumption, and harm reduction services more broadly, continues to be an impediment to opening more legally sanctioned sites almost 3 years after the SCC decision. In this workshop, CSCS and DUAL will collaborate with other people organizing to open safer consumption sites and strategize on how to provide a diverse array of harm reduction services, which are accessible to everyone.
It’s become something of a tradition in recent years. Yet another study presents evidence supporting supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users, and our elected officials respond with heroic efforts to ignore it.
The latest one from Simon Fraser University, published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, makes a pocketbook argument for two such facilities in Ottawa and thus might be expected to appeal to our conspicuously frugal mayor.
To those still unmoved by the proven harm-reduction benefits of supervised drug injection sites, perhaps the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy will have more appeal: the sites could actually save taxpayer dollars. The research provides yet another reason to support a proposed clinic here in Ottawa and others elsewhere.
In his peer-reviewed paper, Simon Fraser University’s Ehsan Jozaghi suggests health-care savings of $5 million — a number associated with the prevention of an estimated nine HIV infections and 88 hepatitis C infections from dirty needles — would more than make up for the $4-million cost of operating two Ottawa clinics. In fact, he argues, the savings would probably be higher because the clinics would also reduce other infection rates and overdose deaths.
Advocates of government-sanctioned injection sites for drug users have a new argument for opening such facilities in Ottawa: a potential saving to taxpayers of at least $1 million a year.
The figure appears in a study published this week that compares the estimated cost of operating two medically supervised injection sites with the health care savings of averting nine HIV infections and 88 hepatitis C infections drug users could otherwise get from sharing dirty needles.
Lead researcher Ehsan Jozaghi of Simon Fraser University said in an interview Tuesday that the findings present “strong arguments for having these facilities in Ottawa to prevent HIV and hepatitis C infections, which cost the health care system millions of dollars a year.”
Another group of researchers has concluded Ottawa should have supervised injection sites.
A study by researchers at Simon Fraser University published in the online journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy says establishing supervised injection sites in Ottawa would be a “fiscally responsible harm reduction strategy” for preventing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.
The study compares the cost of running a supervised injection site in Ottawa — researchers put the annual cost at $2.2 million, based on Insite in Vancouver — with treating people through the healthcare system.