Dr. Mark Tyndall, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Ottawa Hospital, speaks out for supervised injection sites in Ottawa at an event to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on Insite.
A compelling call to action for a proven medical service that would improve the health of people who use drugs, and benefit the entire community.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 9/30 event this morning and packed the PROUD research center at 216 Murray Street. Many people toured the mock injection room to see first-hand how simple it can be to reduce the harms of drug use and save lives in our community.
Thanks also to our amazing speakers, who provided thoughtful, compassionate, and evidence-based reasons for creating supervised injection sites in Ottawa:
CSCS Ottawa has released a report entitled Community Support for a Supervised Consumption Site in Ottawa.
This report provides an account of recent initiatives undertaken by the group to engage with members of the community on the subject of supervised drug consumption sites.
In particular, it presents the results of the residential and business canvassing campaigns conducted in Ottawa’s Lowertown and ByWard Market neighbourhoods in the spring and summer of 2013.
Our purpose in undertaking this activity was firstly to draw attention to the serious health crisis facing people who use drugs in Ottawa, and secondly to gather the opinions of those who live and work in an area of the city most impacted by problematic drug use.
We hope that by sharing this information with fellow community members, frontline health and social service providers, politicians, police, and the media, we can attract support to our campaign and ultimately meet our goal of seeing supervised consumption sites opened in Ottawa.
A year ago, we launched a petition calling on the provincial government to support the creation of supervised drug consumption sites in Ottawa. Since then, hundreds of people have signed their support for this life-saving health care initiative.
Now we're preparing to submit our petition to the Ontario Legislature. Before we do, we're asking you to help strengthen our call with a final push to gather as many signatures as possible.
Provincial governments in B.C. and Quebec have already shown their support for supervised consumption services. It's time that politicians in Ontario stood up for the health and well-being of people who use drugs, and the communities they live in.
At the Overdose Awareness Day rally held Friday in Ottawa, Gilles and Kelly from DUAL read the following statement, recognizing the accomplishments of harm reduction advocates over the past year and calling on the city to meet further demands for the health and safety of people who use drugs.
CSCS stands firmly with DUAL and supports the call to health care leaders and politicians to take action now to prevent further deaths in our community.
"Before we state our demands, we want to recognize some important progress that has been made over the last year in the City of Ottawa. A year ago, on Overdose Awareness Day we demanded access to naloxone a safe drug that immediately reverses opiate overdoses and prevents death. Over the last year Ottawa Public Health rolled out the peer overdose prevention program which gave access to naloxone at the street level. While we need greater access to naloxone, we must recognize that this is a big step that came from the demands of our communities."
"Last year we also demanded greater access to overdose statistics from the provincial coroner. We now have greater access to the numbers of people who have died from overdose related causes. Again, this came from the demands of our communities."
Overdose Awareness Day 2013 demands
Safer injection services now! Overdose deaths can be prevented, but not if the person is alone.
Open access to Naloxone
We need evidence-based health care and treatment that is accessible.
We need to end the stigma against people who consume drugs. We need to strengthen our community through evidence and action.
We need to treat drug use as health issues instead of using criminal punishment. We want our dollars spent on health care and housing.
Friday, August 30 there will be a public demonstration known as International Overdose Awareness Day 2013. This event is intended to raise awareness about drug use in the Ottawa area and beyond. Speakers will range from former drug consumers to current health care providers – offering varied insight into a complex national issue. This demonstration will challenge the status-quo and advocate health care that prevents overdose deaths. Overdose Awareness Day 2013 is meant to provoke action, on the basis of scientific evidence and human compassion. As it stands now an individual in Ottawa will die of a drug overdose every ten days.
Supporters will gather at 11am at the Human Rights Monument on the corner of Elgin and Lisgar street. After the speakers’ addresses, the group will march to Parliament Hill. From there the peaceful, public demonstration will commemorate the 36 Ottawa residents who have died in the last year from drug overdose. The event is expected to end at 1pm.
As North America's first supervised injection site, Insite provides life-saving health care services to a marginalized community in Vancouver. It's also a model for success for similar services in Ottawa, and across Canada.