ALT101 workshop event: safer consumption and harm reduction

ALT101 event

On September 15th from 6-9pm, CSCS will present a workshop on harm reduction and supervised drug consumption practices at 48 rue Frontenac in Hull as part of OPIRG-GRIPO's ALT101 week.

Harm reduction is an action that takes shape in many different ways. Safer drug consumption is not limited to the drug, but also includes harm reduction actions such as drinking water, using with a friend, creating stigma-free spaces. Ranging from institutional services to personal actions, during this workshop, we will discuss a variety of harm reduction services and practices that can be used for safer drug consumption. This includes, but is not limited to, supervised injection sites. By discussing the various ways that harm reduction is used, we will connect personal strategies with the broader need for a diversity of harm reduction services, and supervised injection sites in particular, in Ottawa. The workshop will be interactive so we can learn from each other about what harm reduction and safer drug consumption means.

This event will also include a workshop on Deconstructing Intoxication Culture: Community, Accessibility and Sober Spaces presented by From the Margins.

Ce sera un événement bilingue en français et anglais. Please RSVP on Facebook.

Nurses want supervised injection sites to be an election issue this fall

Ottawa nursing professor Marilou Gagnon recently started a grassroots coalition called Nurses for Supervised Injection Sites. Gagnon says the sites aren’t just places for people to inject drugs in a safer environment – it’s a place to get educated, and a way to link a marginalized group with treatment and health services. It can also save lives, by reducing overdoses and testing for diseases.

Ottawa Overdose Awareness Day rally 2015

Coverage of Overdose Awareness Day in Ottawa on CBC.

Jennifer Bigelow shared her own personal story of drug use and overdose with CBC's Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco. In the extended interview below, she calls on politicians to stop playing games with people's lives and open supervised consumption services in Ottawa.

Advocates for overdose prevention rally at Ottawa city hall

Drug users, recovering addicts and sober allies demanded local supervised safe injection sites and more access to naloxone — a substance that works as an antidote to overdose — during a rally on International Overdose Awareness Day Monday.

A group of about 50 people protested at the annual event, organized by the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and held at the Human Rights Memorial by city hall on Elgin Street. Set on the monument were 45 pairs of shoes, each a testament to one of the lives lost to drug overdoses in Ottawa last year.

A mile in 45 pairs of shoes: Rally honours victims of drug overdose

Crowd calls for supervised injection site, more access to overdose antidote naloxone after Ottawa paramedics responded to 2,600 calls for overdoses last year.

It took three overdoses before Jennifer Bigelow got the help she needed.

A drug addict of 31 years, Bigelow started sniffing lines at 16, then turned to sex work to feed her drive for crack and needles. She woke up from that third scary overdose to her best friend breathing life into her body.

Overdoses killing dozens in Ottawa, activists say

Forty-five pairs of shoes lined the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street on Monday, representing the estimated number of people who died from drug overdoses in Ottawa last year.

In accordance with International Overdose Awareness Day, members of Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites and Drug Users Advocacy League called for supervised injection sites in Ottawa to prevent drug overdoses and to challenge what they say is the stigma faced by drug users.

Call renewed for safe injection sites in Ottawa

The call for a safe injection site for drug users in Ottawa was renewed Monday.

It's International Overdose Awareness Day and members of the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites and Drug Users Advocacy League gathered at the Human Rights Monument to raise awareness about the issue.

Set on the monument were 45 pairs of shoes, one pair to represent each of the people who were estimated to have died from an overdose in Ottawa last year.

Ottawa paramedic Paul Morneau said that number just begins to scratch the surface.

Nurses push for injection site support on campaign trail

A coalition of nurses and nursing students is hoping to put injection sites on the agenda during the federal election campaign.

The group called Nurses for Supervised Injection Services is encouraging others to vote for parties that support the creation of more sites throughout Canada.

The Conservative Party, which has fought Canada’s only supervised injection site for drug users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, is the only one of the major parties that does not support the expansion of such sites. The Conservative government passed a law that supporters of the sites say creates barriers for communities opening injection sites similar to Vancouver’s.

Marilou Gagnon, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Ottawa, said nurses are generally supportive of supervised injection services because they “really understand why they are important and should be implemented.” There are more than 280,000 registered nurses in Canada.

Fatal drug overdoses climb in Canada’s capital

On International Overdose Awareness Day, Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites and Drug Users Advocacy League will challenge Ottawa’s political leaders for their lack of action to prevent fatal drug overdoses. Community members will gather at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street on Aug. 31 from 11:30am-12:30pm to advocate for better overdose prevention and to challenge stigma.

When Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed Aug. 31 International Overdose Awareness Day in 2013, he recognized that Ottawa was losing one citizen every 11 days to drug overdose. This year the Mayor will be acknowledging a death every eight days in his city. The mayor has never attended International Overdose Awareness Day.

An estimated 45 people died from an overdose in Ottawa in 2014. At Insite, Canada’s first supervised injection site, not a single person has died on site from an overdose – and fatal overdoses in the vicinity of Insite have dropped by a third. Health-care professionals at SIS can intervene in overdoses immediately and encourage safer drug use outside of the facility.

Montreal and Toronto’s public health authorities are currently pursuing supervised injection services, while Ottawa Public Health has only recently recognized that they may be useful. Drug Users Advocacy League, an Ottawa collective of people who use drugs and their allies will be presenting consumer demands including SIS in Ottawa.

This year the Mayor’s proclamation states “We recognize the value of every human life and we honour those lost by discussing the harms associated with drug consumption, the risk of overdose and proven strategies to avoid preventable death and injury.” Hopefully Mayor Watson will live up to these words and recognize the significant evidence in support of SIS. If not, the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa will continue to raise awareness and prompt further local action.

Overdose Awareness Day 2015

Overdose Awareness Day 2015

On Monday August 31st 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. Get more information by liking Overdose Awareness Day Ottawa on Facebook.

OD Day is a global event that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. The theme for 2015 is Rethink and Remember. Learn more here.

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