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 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.

Vote for safer consumption sites

Vote for safer consumption sites in Ottawa

On October 27, cast your ballot for harm reduction in Ottawa by voting for a candidate who supports supervised injection.

CSCS has contacted all of the candidates for city councillor in the 2014 Ottawa municipal elections to find out where they stand on safer consumptions sites. As we receive responses, we'll update this page to indicate which candidates are in support of our campaign, or at least open to a discussion of the issue. If you have information on a candidate not listed below, please contact us.

The next few years will be a critical time for establishing supervised injection services in Ottawa - let's make sure that we have councillors who trust evidence over ideology when it comes to community health.

Upcoming meeting - October 21

The next meeting of our organizers group will take place on Tuesday October 21 at 5:30pm at the ACO meeting room, located at 251 Bank St. on the 7th floor. (map)

CSCS is a grassroots group of community members who are passionate about creating a healthier Ottawa. Please join us to take action for supervised consumption services in our city.

Residents rally for changes to national drug policy

As the debate over a safe-injection site in Ottawa rages at the municipal level, the battle for drug policy reform was brought to the federal government’s front door recently when demonstrators from across Canada gathered at Parliament Hill on Sept. 30.

The first annual FED UP! rally was organized by Donna May, founder of Jac’s Voice, a foundation devoted to spreading awareness about addiction and mental illness, named after May’s daughter, who died  two years ago from a disease related to her addiction. 

National Rally for Canadian Drug Policy Reform 9/30 2014

9/30 National Rally for Canadian Drug Policy Reform

Are you FED UP with Canadian drug policy? Join us Sept. 30th and make your voice heard!

Each year, September 30th is remembered and celebrated as the anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada's 2011 decision that blocked the federal government's attempt to close Insite, Vancouver's supervised injection site.

This major victory for harm reduction called attention to the need for drug policy reform in Canada, one that is based on science, evidence, and humanity.

Join with people from across the country who support the need for drug policy reform as we make our voices heard on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, September 30th from 11am to 1pm.

It's time to take action against policies that cause harm to thousands of people across Canada. We will not sit idle any longer. We can do better.

For more information visit ruFEDUPca.com, like the campaign on Facebook, and follow @rufedupca on Twitter.

We'll see you there!

Drug overdose deaths can be curbed with compassion

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.

Combatting overdose in the capital

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.

Overdose Awareness Day 2014

Overdose Awareness Day 2014

International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of drug overdose and eradicate the stigma attached to drug use. Overdoses are preventable!

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.

Workshop at the Peoples' Social Forum 2014

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: R
oom 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.

Ottawa safe injection site could work—if it overcomes ideology

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.

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