Safer injection site group to canvass Sandy Hill on Saturday

Volunteers from the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa will be canvassing the Sandy Hill neighbourhood on Saturday to raise awareness about safe injection sites. 

Starting in the afternoon, volunteers will be going around with information to keep residents informed and to banish any misconceptions they may have about safe injection sites. 

The canvassing coincides with International Harm Reduction Day, which aims to raise awareness and promote services to help drug users. 

“We’re trying to be as open and as honest as possible,” said Catherine Hacksel, an organizer with CSCS Ottawa. “It’s always good to hear what concerns people have. 

“Just from my experience talking to people in the area, once we get the conversation going in a respectful manner, people are generally open to the idea, once they can get their minds wrapped around it.”

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre has expressed an interest in adding a safe injection site to its list of services, and held public consultations in April. The hope is to have the service up and running by spring 2017.  

Volunteers will also be going around with a copy of a petition the CSCS plans to submit to the provincial government. However, Hacksel said the focus is also on answering any questions residents might have, and on promoting the benefits of a harm reduction program.  

Currently, Canada’s only safe injection site is Vancouver’s InSite facility. However, the service also exists in multiple countries across the world, such as Switzerland, Germany and Australia. 

“This is not that radical or new,” said Hacksel. “This is happening all over the world, and is not a unique service.” 

By Anna Sophia Vollmerhausen
Source: Ottawa Citizen