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.

Supervised injection site proponents push on despite Harper’s opposition

Supporters of supervised drug-injection sites, such as Vancouver’s Insite, are keeping a cautious eye on the federal election, as Stephen Harper vows to fight their expansion and questions their benefit as part of his government’s tough-on-drugs agenda.

The latest challenge, laid out by Mr. Harper during a campaign stop this week in a suburban Toronto riding, comes as Montreal prepares to become the second Canadian city to offer a medically supervised setting for injection drug users. It also comes as drug overdoses and deaths linked to fentanyl are making headlines and groups in Toronto and Ottawa continue to cautiously work to build support for future sites.

Mr. Harper brought up the topic during a policy announcement, saying NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would welcome “heroin injection sites” into more neighbourhoods. The data are “very mixed” on safe injection sites, he said. He added that Canadians do not want them in their neighbourhood because such a site “flows the entire drug trade into that community.”

Both the Liberals and the New Democrats are in favour of safe injection sites, and a Supreme Court of Canada ruling said Insite saves lives.

Prisoners Justice Day 2015

August 10, 2015 - 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Jack Purcell Community Centre, Room 101
320 Jack Purcell Lane (off Elgin Street), Ottawa
RSVP on Facebook

This will be an afternoon of solidarity with the criminalized and imprisoned.

From 2:00pm to 4:00pm:

  • Express your unity with prisoners and resistance to state repression
  • Access resources from community-based groups that work with criminalized persons
  • Participate in healing arts projects in a safe space

From 4:00pm-6:00pm:

  • March against deaths in custody and other human rights attrocities behind bars - starts outside Jack Purcell Community Centre;
  • Vigils at the office of Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi and on Parliament Hill;
  • Ends at the Human Rights Monument

Events following Drug User Memorial in Ottawa

Earlier today we released a statement about an alleged event that took place following this past week's Drug User Memorial in Ottawa in which some attendees were detained by police. In an effort to ensure we are presenting a full account, we've taken down the statement until we can confirm all of the facts of the situation.

The case remains that routine police sweeps of people who use drugs in Ottawa are an affront to human dignity and represent ineffective and harmful drug policies.

World Hepatitis Day 2015

Come out to this year's World Hepatitis Day event in Ottawa.

When: Tues. July 28, 12-2pm
Where: Ottawa City Hall

There will be a free BBQ, prizes, activities, and lots of community health organizations - including CSCS Ottawa. We hope to see you there! 

Drug Users Memorial Day 2015

We invite you to remember those who have touched our lives.

Tuesday, July 21 at 10:00am - 2:00pm in Cathcart Park, 219 Cathcart St. Ottawa

RSVP on Facebook

Harm reduction meet & greet - July 16, 2015

Centretown Community Health Centre is hosting a harm reduction meet & greet on July 16th, 1:30-3pm in Dundonald Park. 

This is an opportunity to meet with community health service providers, talk harm reduction, and have some fun. CSCS and DUAL will be there, we hope you can make it too!

RSVP on Facebook

The problems with the Problem Address Framework

As one of several community groups that have united in opposition to the Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Problem Addresses (MSAPA), the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa would like to clarify our reasons for condemning this initiative.

CSCS Ottawa is a grassroots collective of individuals who want to see increased health services for those struggling with drug addiction in our nation’s capital. We are composed of academics, frontline workers, and people with history of substance abuse. We believe people who use drugs have a right to health and self-determination, which includes access to safe and secure housing options. We believe in pragmatic policy that is evidence-based. 

These are the three core reasons we object to the Problem Address Framework:

  1. It challenges honest relationships between clients in need and service providers: Due to the criminalization and stigmatization of drug use, people who use drugs will not seek care if they do not feel safe. Concern has already been raised about privacy limitations within the PAF, as multiple stakeholders are encouraged to disclose sensitive information without their clients’ consent. We believe client confidentiality is essential to maintain honest communication and effective service delivery, particularly in health care settings.
  2. It undermines pragmatic harm reduction strategies such as secondary distribution: In municipalities such as the Greater Toronto Area, formalized secondary distribution (peers providing equipment and information) out of residential units has been an innovative response to agency limitations (e.g. hours of operation). Ottawa Public Health has recognized that access to harm reduction equipment remains a challenge for people who use drugs in Ottawa, and has suggested formalizing secondary equipment distribution by people who use drugs here (1). Such secondary services provided in Ottawa could be negatively characterized by this framework as a “Problem Address” despite functioning as a community health service.
  3. It ignores a clear solution to many community concerns: If agencies want to reduce public drug use and drug equipment litter, provide an alternative to illicit drug use in residential units, and encourage access to addiction treatment, then they should support the creation of safer consumption sites in Ottawa. International research has demonstrated the positive impacts of supervised injection services on clients and communities in Canada and around the globe.

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