Tag Archives: supervised injection site

Supervised Injection Services Discussion

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September 30th, 2015 is the 4th year since the Supreme Court of Canada made the decision to keep Vancouver’s Insite open.

The PROUD study will be releasing our latest newsletter in partnership with the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites Ottawa (CSCS)

CSCS will be hosting a community discussion with students, nurses, activists, researchers, and people who use drugs on the need for supervised consumption services in Ottawa.

Time: Wednesday, September 30at 11:30am – 1:30pm
Location: 147B Fauteux Hall, Louis Pasteur, University of Ottawa Campus, Osgoode at King Edward
R.S.V.P. on Facebook

Refreshments provided as well as whisper translation in French

Partner agencies:
•Association des étudiants(es) en service social (ADESS)
•Coaltion of Nurses and Nursing Students for Supervised Injection Services
•Drug User Advocacy League (DUAL)
•Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs (PROUD)
•AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO)

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New report suggests Ottawa drug users would benefit from safe injection site

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By Andrew Duffy

Ottawa Citizen

May 8th 2015

A new study suggests a significant number of Ottawa’s most serious drug addicts would use a safe injection site if one ever opened in this city.

The study, prepared for a group that wants to bring at least two safe injection sites to Ottawa, found that 75.4 per cent of surveyed addicts said they would be prepared to use a facility where they could inject drugs with clean needles under medical supervision.

That level of participation would reduce overdose deaths and offer huge health benefits to drug users, who suffer high rates of HIV and Hepatitis-C, while also improving the safety of downtown streets made hazardous by discarded needles, advocates said Thursday at a community meeting held to discuss the study.

“I think it shows that, contrary to popular belief, drug users are actually interested in their health,” said Rob Boyd, director of a program at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre that offers harm reduction and health services to drug users and sex workers.

“I think it shows they’re interested in ways of using drugs that are less harmful and that they don’t want to be using drugs publicly,” he said. “We all want a solution to drug use on the curb.”

The study is based on interviews with 858 crack cocaine and injection drug users, about two-thirds of whom live in the downtown core. Developed in consultation with people who use drugs, the study aims to better understand the city’s population of addicts and the impact of HIV on them.

Participants completed a one-time questionnaire that touched on a broad range of topics, including drug history, harm reduction, health status, access to treatment, sexual activities, police interactions and housing.

Such studies are notoriously difficult to conduct because drug users often don’t like to enrol. The Ottawa study represents one of the largest studies of its kind in Canada.

Most (74.4 per cent) of the participants were men and a significant proportion (18.2 per cent) identified as Aboriginal. The median age was 43.

Among the 272 participants who said they had injected drugs in the past year, 14.2 per cent were HIV positive and 18.5 per cent said they had engaged in sex work. A sizable majority (74.6 per cent) also reported having a mental health diagnosis.

About half of the men and 59 per cent of women said they would use a safe injection site daily.

Boyd said the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre intends to apply to the federal government for an exemption from drug laws that would allow it to open a safe injection site. But he conceded that application will likely be made more difficult if the Conservative government’s Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act, becomes law.

“I think we just have to make an application for an exemption no matter what happens,” he said. “There’s a clear willingness to use this type of service and I think there’s an obligation on us to make an attempt.”

Bill C-2, the government’s response to a 2011 Supreme Court decision that preserved Vancouver’s Insite drug clinic, is now before the Senate. Advocates say the new law undermines the court ruling by setting out”excessive and unreasonable” requirements for applicants that want to open a new safe injection site. Such applications must solicit written opinions about the proposed site from the mayor, the police chief, the chief medical officer and the relevant provincial minister.

In Ottawa, both the mayor and police chief have expressed opposition to a safe-injection site.

Ottawa resident Dave Pineau, 54, contracted HIV 30 years ago while sharing needles with a group of friends in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. At the time, he said, users could buy a new needle for $10 or a used one for $5. “I know that sounds horrible, but that’s just the way it was,” he said.

Pineau said a safe injection site would allow users to employ safe equipment and protect themselves against fatal overdoses. “If they OD by themselves, there’s no one there to help them through it: to perform CPR or whatever,” said Pineau, who suffered a near fatal overdose in 2003. “I did a really strong hit and I overdosed. I fought through it. But I was just lucky.”

He said a safe injection site is desperately needed: “Drug users are people, too, and this is what health care looks like for them.”

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/new-report-suggests-ottawa-drug-users-would-benefit-from-safe-injection-site?hootPostID=b9cbce0ae8e53aea942ff6cd1bcbaa0b

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Q&A: Are Supervised Injection Sites effective?

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By Dani-elle Dube

Ottawa SUN

May 7th 2015

Supervised Injection Sites, or SIS, has been a contentious issue in Ottawa for almost a decade decade.

Some see them located in Ottawa neighbourhoods as a cause for concern, others see it as a solution to the city’s drug problem.

On Thursday, members of the Participatory Research in Ottawa: Understanding Drugs (or PROUD) released results of their city-wide survey relating to SIS. The study surveyed 858 drug users between March 2013 and January 2014.

The Sun spoke with Chris Dalton, knowledge translation co-ordinator of the study, to discuss the results and what they mean to the study group, drug users and communities.

Q: What do the results of the study show and tell you?

A: The data shows that people in Ottawa who are affected by addiction are the people who want and need these sites in order to feel safe and be healthy by not sharing dirty needles and spreading diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C.

Q: Why does Ottawa need a SIS?

A: Addiction is like any other disease out there. These people have a health problem and they need treatment that is humane, compassionate and proven to work.

Q: The study revealed that 58% of Ottawa drug users felt unsafe in the location they were currently injecting and that 84% would feel safe using an SIS. But what will be done to ensure that the community feels safe?

A: Studies done in Vancouver reported that there was no evidence of increased crime in the area where an SIS was located. Right now what’s going on in our neighbourhoods where there is homelessness and drug use, you’re going to have (an increase in crime) in the public. People are using in public bathrooms, backyards and alleys right now so it’s actually less safe. Education is key and we hope to provide communities with that so misconceptions are avoided and they feel safe.

Q: Almost 40% surveyed said they had used a needle that had been used by someone else before. How will SIS sites make sure that users don’t continue to share needles on the street when they’re not using the services?

A: If we had a 24-hour site open, then the service will always be available with new gear and would help solve a large part of that problem. We see this as an alarming statistic that shows how much we need this service because we don’t believe people will reuse syringes if they’re in a safe and healthy facility with plenty of needles available. People want to be healthy. People don’t want to contract HIV or Hep C, overdose or die. So if we can help them to prevent those things from happening then we’re saving lives.

Q: About 48% of men and 59% of women surveyed said they would use an SIS daily. Is this the solution Ottawa and drug users need as opposed to making more resources available that will help them get clean?

A: Treatment is great for people who want to do it. But if you force people into treatment, often people aren’t successful in the long term. We need to provide a space for people so that, until they’re ready for treatment and decide that’s what they want to do, they can still be safe where they’re using while making healthy choices by using clean gear. But the only choices users have is to stop using and get treatment or to use in the street with dirty needles and get kicked out of the shelters. We need a middle ground that can help and provide services to people who need it.

MORE RESULTS FROM THE STUDY

72% of male participants and 83% of female participants think there should be an SIS in Ottawa

Among the participants who would use an SIS

– 91% of participants had been homeless at one point in their life

– 10% self-reported testing HIV positive

– 70% think there should be an SIS in the Byward Market/Lowertown areas

A follow up study was done in the summer of 2014. It surveyed 136 participants who had injected drugs within the last 30 days.

– 66% injected in public

– 58% felt unsafe due to the location where they were currently injecting

http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/05/07/qa-are-supervised-injection-sites-effective

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PROUD out LOUD Volume 9: May 2015

SUPERVISED INJECTION

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PROUD OUT LOUD(FINAL)SIS

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Reaching Those Most at Risk for Drug-Related Harm: Potential Users of a Supervised Injection Site in Ottawa. Oral presentation at CAHR Conference 2014

Potential Users of a Supervised Injection Site in Ottawa, Powerpoint Slides

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Infographic – What people who inject drugs think about Supervised Injection Sites

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