CSCS Ottawa is a grassroots collective of individuals who want to see increased health services for those struggling with drug addiction in our nation’s capital. We are composed of academics, frontline workers, and people with history of substance abuse. We believe people who use drugs have a right to health and self-determination, which includes access to safe and secure housing options. We believe in pragmatic policy that is evidence-based.
These are the three core reasons we object to the Problem Address Framework:
It challenges honest relationships between clients in need and service providers: Due to the criminalization and stigmatization of drug use, people who use drugs will not seek care if they do not feel safe. Concern has already been raised about privacy limitations within the PAF, as multiple stakeholders are encouraged to disclose sensitive information without their clients’ consent. We believe client confidentiality is essential to maintain honest communication and effective service delivery, particularly in health care settings.
It undermines pragmatic harm reduction strategies such as secondary distribution: In municipalities such as the Greater Toronto Area, formalized secondary distribution (peers providing equipment and information) out of residential units has been an innovative response to agency limitations (e.g. hours of operation). Ottawa Public Health has recognized that access to harm reduction equipment remains a challenge for people who use drugs in Ottawa, and has suggested formalizing secondary equipment distribution by people who use drugs here (1). Such secondary services provided in Ottawa could be negatively characterized by this framework as a “Problem Address” despite functioning as a community health service.
It ignores a clear solution to many community concerns: If agencies want to reduce public drug use and drug equipment litter, provide an alternative to illicit drug use in residential units, and encourage access to addiction treatment, then they should support the creation of safer consumption sites in Ottawa. International research has demonstrated the positive impacts of supervised injection services on clients and communities in Canada and around the globe.
Late last week Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre committed to implementing four supervised injection sites in the City of Montreal by fall of this year – regardless of Federal support. “What are we waiting for? People are dying,” said Coderre.
This assertive step to save lives and improve public health in his city is welcomed by Ottawa advocates, who are saddened by Mayor Watson’s willful ignorance of harm reduction services. Mayor Watson did recognize local drug fatalities in the summer of 2013 when he proclaimed “Overdose Awareness Day” in the City of Ottawa, but has never attended the annual event at the human rights monument.
The Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites (CSCS) in Ottawa will press on this summer, continuing to educate residents of Ottawa on the benefits of, and need for, supervised injection services and challenge stigma surrounding problematic substance use.
Other pertinent info:
While Insite has the unanimous support of the Supreme Court of Canada, two supervised injection sites currently operate in Vancouver, BC. The second drug consumption room exists in the Dr. Peter Centre, an HIV/AIDs treatment facility. The centre has provided nursing support and supervision for clients’ injection drug use for over a decade, and applied for a federal exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) (the same that Insite has) in February 2014.
Last summer a peer-reviewed research paper from Simon Fraser University predicted that two supervised injection facilities in Ottawa would save approximately $1 million dollars per year in reduced HIV and HCV transmissions. (1)
According to Ottawa Public Health, an estimated 40 deaths and 115 hospitalizations are attributed to drug overdose annually in the City of Ottawa. (2)
Of people who inject drugs in Ottawa, 10% are HIV positive and 70% have Hepatitis C (HCV) antibodies. (2)
Join the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa in celebrating recent efforts to bring safer consumption to Ottawa and learn about the history of CSCS, our current projects, and how YOU can take action and get involved. Everyone welcome and refreshments will be provided.
When: Tuesday May 19th, 5:30-7pm Where: Centretown CHC, 420 Cooper St., Ottawa (map) RSVP on Facebook
Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be provided. Bus tickets are available to those in need of transportation. Centretown CHC is wheel chair accessible.
To celebrate International Harm Reduction Day, we will be co-hosting a discussion of Bill C-2 and the future of supervised injection services in Ottawa with community members, people who use drugs, service providers, and researchers.
Researchers from the PROUD project (Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs) will present data from their study relating to supervised injection services. PROUD is a community-based research project that examines HIV risk among people who use drugs in Ottawa.
Join the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa for a screening of the documentary The House I Live In, which provides an in-depth examination of the effects of the American War on Drugs on the criminal legal system and the people who have been criminalized.
When: Thursday Feb. 5th at 7PM Where: University of Ottawa, FSS 1005
Following the film there will be a panel discussion to provide information about the criminalization of people who use drugs 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.
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.
The Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa is looking for your help to lobby candidates in the upcoming Ottawa municipal election.
In the next few weeks organizers will be finalizing lobby kits for distribution to candidates in each riding. Our goal is to ensure that candidates are educated on the evidence in support of harm reduction practices and the need for safer consumption sites in the city of Ottawa.
This is a great and easy opportunity to stay involved in the fight for safe consumption in Ottawa! Here's how:
1. Send your full name, email address, and riding name to email@example.com. If you do not know your riding please find it here. CSCS organizers will keep track of people who wish to lobby the candidates in their riding in order to distribute the kits, record meeting results, and keep everyone updated on upcoming events that CSCS members would like to have a presence at leading up to the election on Oct. 27, 2014;
2. Keep us posted on the results of your contact with candidates. This way we can track who we've contacted, what the results were, and who might be potential allies following the election.