Ottawa ‘needs safe injection site to reduce HIV rate’

Former drug users and the families and friends of the many Ottawans lost to drug overdoses renewed calls for a safe injection site in the city Friday during International Overdose Awareness Day.

“As we are seeing more people turn to heroin, my concern is that these overdoses could increase,” said Dr. Lynne Leonard, a social epidemiologist and Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa.

“By providing a supervised injection site we would reduce the personal risk and community costs of drug use,” she said.

Ottawa OD Day 2012 demands

At today's Overdose Awareness Day event at the Human Rights Memorial in Ottawa, Sean and Gilles of DUAL presented the following list of demands on behalf of people who use drugs in Ottawa. We at CSCS Ottawa fully support these demands, and call on municipal, provincial, and federal governments to take action now to help prevent further unnecessary overdose deaths.

Overdose Awareness Day 2012

This Friday is Overdose Awareness Day. We invite you to join us in Ottawa at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin St from 11:30am-12:30pm to show your support.

On August 31 thousands of people worldwide will stand beside the friends and families of fatal overdose victims to reflect on their losses. The event intends to reinforce the idea that no-one need feel shame or disgrace at the death of someone from drug overdose.

Overdose Awareness Day 2012

Prisoners' Justice Day 2012 - Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Prisoners’ Justice Day Ottawa community event yesterday, and to those who couldn’t join us but who stand in solidarity with prisoners across Canada in demanding respect for the human rights of people in the correctional system.

A big thanks to our excellent speakers and contributors, to our fellow Ottawa community groups who participated, and to the CSCS Ottawa volunteers for pulling it all together.

Check out a recap of the evening on the Prisoners' Justice Day Ottawa website, including photos, text of several of the speeches, and a poem.

Read press coverage of the event at The Media Co-op.

Prisoners' Justice Day 2012

Friday August 10 is Prisoners' Justice Day, a day of solidarity to honour and remember all prisoners who have died unnatural deaths while incarcerated, and to cast light on the on-going human rights issues present in our prisons.

Please join us at 5pm at Jack Purcell Community Center, where we will be gathering to mark the day with plenty of information and activities, such as books to prisoners (BYO soft-cover book!), button making, and letter writing. Topics to be covered by speakers at the event include harm reduction in prison, Bill C-10, and lived experiences of the corrections system.

Visit the Prisoner Justice Day Ottawa website for more information.

RSVP on Facebook.

World Hepatitis Day 2012

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, dedicated to raising awareness for this virus that infects 1 in 12 people worldwide. Hepatitis C is a a blood-borne virus that attacks the liver causing inflammation and scarring. It can lead to long-term complications such as liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.

The primary risk factor for hepatitis C transmission is injection drug use, through the sharing of infected needles. In Canada, 3 out of 4 new infections are related to injection drug use. In Ottawa, 60% of injection drug users have contracted hepatitis C.

Drug User Memorial Day - July 2012

Last Friday, July 20, 2012, we joined together for Drug User Memorial Day at Cathcart Park in the Byward Market. Events included a speaker's circle, a smudge ceremony, beautiful drumming and singing from Ottawa's Aboriginal Elders and a luncheon at St. Bridgid's. The event was organized by the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre & the Drug User's Advocacy League (DUAL) with support from a collection of community organizers, the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) and the AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO).

Ottawa should move quickly to open a supervised consumption site

Dr. Mark Tyndall, head of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital, discusses the need for a supervised injection facility in Ottawa. He compares the situation in Ottawa today to that in Vancouver 10 years ago, before Insite opened.

Remembering those lost on Drug User Memorial Day

On Friday July 20, 2012 our friends at DUAL (Drug User Advocacy League) are organizing a Drug User Memorial event in Ottawa's Cathcart Park at 10am to remember friends and loved ones who have touched our lives. Please join us.

Drug User Memorial Day - July 20, 2012

Report urges shift from treating addiction as a criminal issue to public health one

The war on drugs is a "destructive" failure that is fuelling the transmission of HIV/AIDS, according to a former Supreme Court justice.

Louise Arbour, who has also served as UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, said a "repressive" approach to drug policies is not only a public health disaster — but a colossal waste from an economic perspective as well.

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