Montreal movement for supervised injection sites inspires Ottawa advocates

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)

CSCS New and Returning Members Meeting

CSCS New Members Meeting - May 19 2015

Get involved for supervised injection in Ottawa!

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.

We hope to see you there!

New report suggests Ottawa drug users would benefit from safe injection site

A new study suggests a significant number of Ottawa’s most serious drug addicts would use a safe injection site if one ever opened in this city.

The study, prepared for a group that wants to bring at least two safe injection sites to Ottawa, found that 75.4 per cent of surveyed addicts said they would be prepared to use a facility where they could inject drugs with clean needles under medical supervision.

That level of participation would reduce overdose deaths and offer huge health benefits to drug users, who suffer high rates of HIV and Hepatitis-C, while also improving the safety of downtown streets made hazardous by discarded needles, advocates said Thursday at a community meeting held to discuss the study.

“I think it shows that, contrary to popular belief, drug users are actually interested in their health,” said Rob Boyd, director of a program at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre that offers harm reduction and health services to drug users and sex workers.

“I think it shows they’re interested in ways of using drugs that are less harmful and that they don’t want to be using drugs publicly,” he said. “We all want a solution to drug use on the curb.”

Q&A: Are Supervised Injection Sites Effective?

Supervised Injection Sites, or SIS, has been a contentious issue in Ottawa for almost a decade.

Some see them located in Ottawa neighbourhoods as a cause for concern, others see it as a solution to the city's drug problem.

On Thursday, members of the Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs (or PROUD) released results of their city-wide survey relating to SIS. The study surveyed 858 drug users between March 2013 and January 2014.

The Sun spoke with Chris Dalton, knowledge translation co-ordinator of the study, to discuss the results and what they mean to the study group, drug users and communities.

Q: What do the results of the study show and tell you?

A: The data shows that people in Ottawa who are affected by addiction are the people who want and need these sites in order to feel safe and be healthy by not sharing dirty needles and spreading diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C.

Q: Why does Ottawa need a SIS?

A: Addiction is like any other disease out there. These people have a health problem and they need treatment that is humane, compassionate and proven to work.

International Harm Reduction Day in Ottawa - May 7, 2015

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.

Thursday, May 7th 2015
1:30pm - 3:30pm
St. Brigid’s Centre, 310 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa

(Entrance on Cumberland street)
Refreshments will be provided.

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.

RSVP on Facebook

International Harm Reduction Day - Ottawa, May 7 2015

Politicians at all levels agree to ignore the evidence with Bill C-2

There was rare harmony between our federal, provincial and local politicians last week as they gathered to announce the feds’ $62-million contribution to the Ottawa River Action Plan.

The infrastructure upgrade, which will reduce the filth flowing into the Ottawa River, is pretty uncontroversial. Who favours pollution?

And who doesn’t like to see our officials from different levels and parties play nice? Depends what they’re playing at.

Pierre Poilievre, the federal minister responsible for our region, later talked to Metro to tout the investment, but also to defend Bill C-2, The Respect For Communities Act, passed by the House of Commons last month, which raises new barriers to opening supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users.

Minister defends bill requiring consultation on injection site applications

The federal government would be irresponsible if it did not insist that recently tabled legislation regarding drug injection sites include provisions requiring community consultation, says a Conservative cabinet minister.

“This is clearly a matter of public health and public safety, and I think Canadians would expect the minister of health to listen carefully to the municipal and community leaders in a jurisdiction where an injection house is proposed,” Pierre Poilievre, the Minister of Employment and Social Development, said in an interview Wednesday.

New law could kill any hope for safe-injection site in Ottawa

The federal government has signalled when the city of Ottawa will be able to open a safe-injection site for intravenous drug users. It’s called never.

Little attention was paid when the House of Commons passed Bill C-2 in late March. Drug addicts are like prison inmates: They make poor lobbyists. The law is called the Respect For Communities Act, one of those Orwellian names — like the Safe Streets Act — cooked up by the short-pants in Mind Control.

The act is a response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in 2011 to uphold the existence of Vancouver’s Insite drug clinic because it delivered health benefits without substantial negative effects on the community.

But the new law makes future applications so burdensome, not to mention politically charged, it’s doubtful any would ever be approved.

“Should Bill C-2 become law, it will be extremely difficult to open a supervised injection anywhere in Canada, including in Ottawa,” said Lisa Wright, a PhD candidate and an organizer with the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites.

The House I Live In

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.

RSVP on Facebook

The House I Live In

2nd annual holiday breakfast for people who use drugs

On Dec 19 from 9:30am-noon, DUAL and CSCS Ottawa will be serving our second annual holiday breakfast for people who use drugs in our community.

We are in need of volunteers, food, decorations, gifts and dishware for this awesome event, so please get in touch with Catherine or Jordon if you're able to help out.

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