Harm reduction advocates ask ByWard Market residents and business owners to support community health

On April 27th and 28th, members of the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites (CSCS) will be doing door-to-door campaigning to residences and businesses within the ByWard Market. Residents and business owners will be surveyed about their perception of drug use in the market, and asked if they would publicly support the opening of a supervised drug consumption site in their neighbourhood.

Ottawa has an ongoing health crisis among people who use drugs including overdose, infection, and rising rates of communicable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. The Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA, 2012) reported that the HIV prevalence rate for people who use drugs in Ottawa is twice as high as the rate in Toronto at 11%. The TOSCA study also noted that prevalence rate of Hepatitis C among drug users in Ottawa was one of the highest rates in the province at 60%.

Evidence has strongly shown that the opening of safer sites improves health outcomes among this population group. Insite in Vancouver has provided an overwhelming amount of scientifically based evidence to show that a harm reduction model works to reduce rates of overdose, transmission of HIV/Hepatitis C, and crime.

CSCS member Zainab Rafique states, "We pride ourselves on having universal health-care, and this must come with an awareness that a mandate of universal health-care demands equal accessibility for all population groups. Show your presence this weekend by supporting us in our campaign for opening safer drug consumption sites, increasing accessibility to health-care for our drug-using population, and supporting us in our larger goal of improving community health."

The Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa is a local grassroots advocacy group that campaigns for the opening of safer inhalation and injection sites in Ottawa for members of our community who use drugs.