Overdoses in Ottawa a preventable problem, say activists

1 person dies every 10 days in Ottawa from a drug overdose

A group of health-care workers and former drug addicts held a rally and silent walk Friday to draw attention to overdose deaths in Ottawa, with some arguing for a safe injection site for the city.

Saturday is International Overdose Awareness Day around the world, but in Ottawa the local chapter of the group behind the day held it Friday to draw attention to what they say is a preventable problem.

The group met at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street, where they placed 36 pairs of empty shoes — marked with labels such as son, daughter, friend and veteran — to represent those who have died of overdoses in the last year.

Gilles Dupuis said he recently lost two friends to the prescription drug fentanyl, and said he's had close calls himself. "Me personally, I've overdosed seven times, flatlined twice. So I am lucky to be alive," said Dupuis.

Ottawa Overdose Awareness Day rally 2013

CBC coverage of the Overdose Awareness Day rally held August 30, 2013 at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa.

Dozens mark International Overdose Awareness Day

An average of 36 people die of overdoses in Ottawa every year and around 60 people gathered at the Human Rights monument on Elgin Street Friday morning to pay tribute to loved ones taken from them too soon.

Rob Boyd, the director of the Oasis program at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre told CFRA they were also using International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness about the issue.

What is Insite?

Hope In the Fight asks: What is Insite?

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.

Overdose Awareness Day 2013

We are marking International Overdose Awareness Day 2013 in Ottawa on Friday August 30th, and invite you to join us.

The event will start at 11am at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin St. in front of City Hall with a call to action and speeches.

At noon, we will walk to Parliament Hill for the performance of an Overdose Awareness Day song by local artist Michael Dalton, followed by a moment of silence to remember those who have lost their lives to overdose.

For more information, visit Ottawa Overdose Awareness Day on Facebook.

Overdose Awareness Day has been a key remembrance event for those who have died from fatal drug overdoses since 2001. For Overdose awareness day thousands of people worldwide will stand alongside the friends and families of fatal overdose victims to reflect on those who have been lost. The event is organized on the understanding that no-one need feel shame or disgrace over a drug overdose.

Overdose Awareness Day offers all who have been affected by overdose a chance to publicly mourn and help the wider community understand that fatal overdose profoundly affects mainstream society.

Prisoners' Justice Day 2013

On August 10th, 2013 we mark the 38th annual Prisoner Justice Day. Observed with hunger strikes in Canada and around the world, Prisoner Justice Day is about drawing attention to abuse, and exploitation faced by those imprisoned, and those targeted and affected by the prison system.

Location: Room 101 in the Jack Purcell Community Centre (320 Jack Purcell Lane)
Time: 4pm-6:30pm
RSVP on Facebook 

Learn more on the Prisoners' Justice Day Ottawa website.

Canada’s next supervised injection site: Ottawa?

An Ottawa group aims to open Canada’s first supervised injection site since a landmark Supreme Court ruling gave Vancouver’s Insite the right to offer addicts a safe place to shoot up.

By all accounts, the odds are against them: They don’t have the backing of the city, the police or the province; they’re racing against the clock to apply for an exemption from federal drug laws before new legislation makes it tougher.

But proponents argue they can’t afford not to pursue it: Canada’s capital boasts sky-high hepatitis rates and Ontario’s highest rate of HIV infection among injection-drug users.

The real questions about Cory Monteith’s death

When famous Canadian actor Cory Monteith was found dead of a drug overdose on July 13, it shocked the world, and drew international headlines.

It was a stunning development, as Monteith, 31, appeared to have his well-documented battle with addiction under control, having served a stint in rehab just a few months earlier, and seemed to most to be on the right path — in recovery and thriving.

Harm reduction meet & greet

Harm reduction meet & greet - July 24, 1:30pm at Dundonald Park

Drop by Dundonald Park Wednesday afternoon from 1:30-3:30 for some outdoor fun, and a chance to meet with your friendly neighbourhood harm reduction service providers. We'll see you there!

Plan for supervised injection site applauded by Ottawa users

A plan to open a supervised injection site for hard drug users in Ottawa is being applauded by some who say the facility would cut down on the city’s high HIV infection rate.

“People will start learning how to use clean needles. There will be less overdoses and many are infected with HIV,” said Crystal O’Hara, who started injecting morphine three years ago and but is now on methadone.

O’Hara said that she sometimes smokes crack and recently nodded off while using and woke to find she left her stove burner on with a radio nearby.

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