Harm Reduction Services in Ottawa

Harm reduction services, such as OPH's Site Needle and Syringe Program, help reduce harm to people who use drugs and also protect our community. This is done by distributing supplies (such as needles) for safer drug use, teaching about safer drug use, and referring people to other health and social services.

Site Needle and Syringe Program

 The City of Ottawa's Site Needle & Syringe Program is an effective mandatory health program, which has been in operation since 1991. The availability of these programs have been deemed a necessary public health measure to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, primarily HIV and Hepatitis-C virus, and to minimize the risks associated with substance use in society.

Program information and background

Mandate of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Background

In the late 1980's, the rate of HIV and Hepatitis B and C infection grew to epidemic proportions among injection drug users. The Ministry of Health acknowledged the urgent need to implement harm reduction strategies to control the epidemic. The human costs, as well as the financial burden HIV infection was placing on the health-care system, were a major concern.

The Ontario Ministry of Health, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act mandated that:

"The board of health shall ensure that injection drug users can have access to sterile injection equipment by the provision of needle and syringe exchange programs as a strategy to prevent transmission of[ HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections and other associated diseases in areas where drug use is recognized as a problem in the community. The strategy shall also include counselling and education and referral to primary health services and addiction/treatment services. The board of health shall produce an annual report of program activities and forward a copy to the Minister of Health

Program goals
To educate clients to reduce and avoid the risk of transmission of HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens by:
  • Increasing awareness of the risks involved in needle sharing, other drug using behaviours and unprotected sex. To enhance the skills needed to change high-risk behaviours and/or maintain low and no risk behaviours.
  • Providing accurate information on all modes of HIV transmission (including sexual transmission), testing and prevention.

Providing health education, needle exchange, and condom distribution. To encourage self-esteem in substance users and other clients and an awareness of health issues by:

  • Increasing awareness of health status regarding HIV and hepatitis B and C by offering testing.
  • Encouraging and providing hepatitis A/B and influenza vaccination.
  • Providing health education, anonymous HIV testing, confidential testing for hepatitis B and C, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, provision of hepatitis A/B vaccine, HIV and hepatitis C counselling and partner follow-up.

To provide a supportive environment for substance users and other clients to access medical and social services by:

  • Gaining a client's trust to a point of access for meeting their service and health care needs.
  • Referring substance users to treatment, counselling services, medical and other social service supports.
  • Providing crisis counselling, referrals to community agencies and drug treatment programs.
Services provided
  • distribution of harm reduction supplies (injecting and inhalation supplies)
  • distribution of condoms and lube
  • health education/ promotion
  • substance use counselling
  • general counselling and support
  • referral to health and social service agencies including drug treatment services
  • Peer Overdose Prevention Program(POPP) please reference below for more information

Clinical services offered:

POPP (Peer Overdose Prevention Program)

Are you at risk of opiate overdose?

Did you know?
  • Anyone can overdose (first time and long time users, youth and older adults).
  • Fentanyl is often made as a powder and mixed with other drugs. It is also being pressed into pills. It is around 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine. This makes the risk of accidental overdose much higher.
  • There is an increased risk of overdose after a period of non-use (like being released from prison, hospital, or a treatment facility) or from a lack of access to drugs.
What can I do to reduce my overdose risks?
Here are some overdose prevention tips:
  • Avoid using alone. Fix with a friend and leave the door unlocked.
  • Avoid mixing drugs with prescription and over the counter drugs, alcohol, benzodiazepines, other opiates and/or uppers like cocaine or crack.
  • Use one drug at a time if you are mixing and take a break between drugs.
  • Inject, snort, or smoke a very small amount first to test its strength.
  • Illicit fentanyl is much more toxic than other pharmaceutical opioids
  • There is no easy way to know if fentanyl is in your drugs. You can't see it, smell it or taste it
  • Fentanyl is being cut (mixed) into both opioid and non opioid drugs
  • If you are feeling sick or under the weather, use less and be more careful.
  • Use less when your tolerance is low (like when you haven't used in 3 or more days).
  • Let your community agency know if you notice any changes with your drugs.
  • An overdose is a medical emergency! If you or someone else is overdosing, do not hesitate to CALL 9-1-1.
What is naloxone?

Updated on March 03, 2020

An overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency. Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, but it does not cure an overdose. If anyone suspects or witnesses a person experiencing a drug overdose, call 911 and administer naloxone, even if the drug consumed is unknown. Example of opioids include heroin, morphine, codeine, Percocet, methadone, fentanyl, carfentanil, etc.

Being able to recognize the signs of an overdose quickly and having a naloxone kit can save a life. Naloxone can buy time while paramedics are en route. Take-home naloxone kits do not replace the need for emergency care or minimize the importance of calling 911. 

Effects of Naloxone

In an opioid overdose, a person's breathing slows down or stops. Naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the brain. It temporarily reverses these effects on a person's breathing. Giving naloxone can prevent death or brain damage from lack of oxygen.

Naloxone will only work on opioid-related overdoses. It is important to remember that a lot of other drugs are being mixed with fentanyl and carfentanil. If the person has used any drugs and is showing signs of an opioid overdose call 911 and give naloxone.

How long does naloxone take to work?

Once given, naloxone will start to work in approximately 2-3 minutes.

Naloxone stays active in the body for up to 2 hours but it is important to know that most opioids stay active in the body longer than 2 hours! If the opioid is still in the body after the naloxone wears off, the overdose can return!

This is why it is so important to call 911 in every overdose situation!

Limitations 

Giving naloxone to someone that is unconscious because of a non-opioid overdose is unlikely to cause more harm. Overdoses are life-threatening. Giving naloxone is better than not administering it.

The only reason to not give naloxone to someone who is experiencing an overdose is if the person is known to have a life-threatening allergy to naloxone or any of the ingredients. If allergies are unknown (which is likely the case when responding to medical emergencies), give naloxone.

Naloxone is safe for all ages. An opioid overdose is a life-threatening situation, which can be temporarily reversed by naloxone, and for that reason, naloxone can be given regardless of age, if the person is pregnant or lactating and if they have medical conditions such as heart, respiratory, liver or kidney disease.

For more information about using naloxone, see below:

Take-Home Naloxone Kits

 Naloxone kit

In Ontario, naloxone is available for free through programs like Peer Overdose Prevention Program (POPP). It is available to persons who could be at risk of an overdose and to people who could help someone who is overdosing. When you get your kit, you will also receive training on overdose prevention, recognizing an overdose and how to respond. Below is a list of places where you can get a free naloxone kit in Ottawa:

Ottawa Public Health's Site Needle & Syringe Program

Free kits and training available for clients and their family or friends.

  • Site Office
    • Located on 179 Clarence St (in the Byward Market)
    • Available 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Mobile Site Van provides service throughout the City of Ottawa
    • Available 5 to 11:30 pm, 7 days a week
    • Telephone number: 613-232-3232
  • For more information on these services visit Harm Reduction Services in Ottawa.

 Local Ottawa Pharmacies

Get a free kit and training at a participating pharmacy near you by:

  • Calling the Drug and Alcohol Helpline @ 1-800-565-8603.  
  • Checking this list of pharmacies that have naloxone. This list is managed by the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care. Should a pharmacy be missing from the list, please contact the Ministry

Once you have located a pharmacy, Ottawa Public Health suggests you call ahead to make sure that they currently have naloxone available.

Online Training

NaloxoneCare.com is an online learning portal to help individuals learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to give naloxone. You can get a free nasal naloxone kit once the training is completed.

St John's Ambulance and Sobeys Pharmacy Orleans

Free monthly opioid awareness and naloxone training sessions.

  • Available the 1st Wednesday of each month from 12 noon to 1 pm
  • Located on St John Ambulance (1050 Morrison Drive)
  • To register, send an email to info.ottawa@sja.ca.

The Ottawa Hospital

Training and naloxone kits available for registered patients at risk of overdose.  

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre's Oasis Overdose Prevention Service

Naloxone kits available through walk-in services Monday-Friday.

  • Located on 221 Nelson Street, 1st floor
  • Telephone number: 613 569-3488

<< Back to StopOverdoseOttawa.ca

What is POPP?

Peer Overdose Prevention Program

  • Education about the drug Naloxone.
  • Overdose risk and myth information.
  • Overdose prevention training.
  • Steps on how to respond to an overdose.
  • A POPP certification.
How do I get POPP?
Just walk-in the Site office or call the Site van to get a free POPP kit, certification and training.

You can also get a naloxone kit for free from pharmacies.

Supervised consumption services (SCS), Site office, Mobile van hours and other Supervised Injection Services (SIS)

 Location

Day 

 Time

Telephone

Site Needle & Syringe Program 
and
Supervised consumption services
179 Clarence St.

Monday to Friday 

9 am to 5 pm

613-580-6744 ext. 29047

Site mobile van

7 days a week 

5 to 11:30 pm 

613-232-3232

Collect calls accepted   

Ottawa Inner City Health Shepherds of Good Hope (SIS)
230 Murray St. (Trailer)

7 days a week

24 hours

613-241-6494

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
221 Nelson St

7 days a week

8 am to 8 pm

613-569-3488 ext. 2101

Somerset West CHC Overdose Prevention Services
55 Eccles St

7 days a week

8 am to 8 pm

613-238-8210 ext. 2246

Partner agencies / Pharmacy partners
Over the past few years, accessibility of needle exchange and other harm reduction services in Ottawa have been greatly increased through partnerships with other agencies serving the same clientele.

Both Site Program and partner agency staff are alert for, and take advantage of, opportunities to educate clients on the safe use of syringes/glass stems and other drug using equipment. 

  • AIDS Committee of Ottawa 19 Main Street, 613-238-5014
  • Carlington Community Health Centre 900 Merivale Road, 613-722-4000
  • Centre 454 454 King Edward Avenue,613-235-4351
  • Centre 507 507 Bank Street, 613-233-5626
  • Centretown Community Health Centre 420 Cooper Street, 613-233-4697
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa 311-211 Bronson Avenue, 613-237-7427
  • Lowertown Community Resource Centre 40 Cobourg Street 613-789-3930 
  • Minwaashin Lodge - STORM Van  424 Catherine Street 613-265-7558
  • Ontario Addictions Treatment Centres
    • 401 Somerset Street W. 613-233-1114
    • 1318 Carling Avenue, 613-627-0856
    • 263 Montreal Road, 613-749-9666
  • Operation Come Home 150 Gloucester Street, 613-230-4663
  • OPH Site Needle and Syringe Program 179 Clarence Street, 613-234-4641 Site Van, 613-232-3232
  • Onyx Community Service  265 Montreal Rd., 613-422-2294
  • Pinecrest-Queensway Health and Community Services 1365 Richmond Road, 2nd floor, 613-820-2001
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre 221 Nelson Street, 613-569-3488
  • Shepherds of Good Hope 230 Murray Street, 613-241-6494 256 King Edward Ave, 613-562-7845
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre 55 Eccles Street, 613-238-1220 NESI Mobile Van 613-761-0003
  • South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre 1355 Bank Street, suite 600, 613-737-5115
  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health 299 Montreal Road Vanier, 613-748-5999
  • Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa 147 Besserer Street, 613-241-7788 ext 300

Pharmacy partners:

  • Riverside Drugstore  1919 Riverside Drive 613-523-3066
  • Trust Care Pharmasave  1020 St Laurent Blvd. 613-749-8577
  • Palmyra Guardian   1013 Merivale Rd.  613-729-7117
  • Parkway Pharmacy  311 McArthur Ave.  613-749-2324
  • Shoppers Drug Mart  1300 Stittsville Main Street  613-831-0901 – please speak to the pharmacist for supplies
  • Centre Town Pharmacy  326 Bank Street  613-422-2900
  • Whole Health Pharmacy Ogilvie  1150 Cadboro Rd. 613-749-7455
  • Sobeys Pharmacy  5150 Innes Rd. 613-590-7144 – also provides methadone
Harm Reduction Partner Service Hours During Covid-19 Pandemic

 

Agency Name Agency Hours Services Offered Notes Contact Information
     

 

 

Somerset West Community Health Centre

9 am-4 pm, last call at 3 pm 7days/week (SCS/CTS)

5-11:30 pm (NESI Van), Mon-Sat

Supervised Consumption Services, Harm Reduction Supplies, Naloxone, OAT services, DOPE team continues to do targeted outreach Shortened SCS service hours, van hours remain the same

Clients screened for
respiratory symptoms at door

Limiting number of people in
space, folks may need to wait
outside for access

Drop-in space closed until
further notice

55 Eccles Street

613-238-1220

NESI Mobile Van

613-761-0003

https://swchc.on.ca/

The Trailer (Supervised Consumption Services)

Shepard’s of Good Hope 
24hrs/day, 7days/week Supervised consumption services, harm reduction supplies, naloxone  No change to services 

230 Murray Street

613-241-6494

TED (Targeted Emergency Diversion) Program Shepard’s of Good Hope  24hrs/day, 7days/week No change to services or hours Clients will be screened by nurse for respiratory symptoms 

230 Murray Street

613-241-4303

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre

8 am-5 pm, last call at  4:15 pm 7days/week (SCS/CTS)

8 am-8 pm 7days/week (Junction - gear and naloxone through door once CTS closed) 

9 am-2 pm Mon-Fri (OAT)

MTWF 9am-4 pm, Th 1-4 pm (Urgent walk-in medical care) 

Supervised consumption services, harm reduction supplies, naloxone

OAT is walk-in, however phone appointments preferred (meeting with provider via phone/OTN facilitated by a nurse)

Oasis walk-in medical care is for urgent issues only, for people who fit mandate

Shortened SCS service hours

Clients screened for respiratory symptoms at door

Limiting number of people in space, folks may need to wait outside for access 

Drop-in space closed until further notice

221 Nelson Street

613-569-3488

Ottawa Public Health Site Program 

9 am -5 pm Mon-Fri (Supervised Consumption Services)

5 pm-11:30 pm 7days/week (Site Van) 

Supervised consumption services, naloxone, harm reduction supplies, reduced clinical services  No changes to hours

Gear at door

Clients screened for
respiratory symptoms through intercom

Limiting number of people in space, folks may need to wait

outside for access
179 Clarence Street

613-234-4641

Site Van

613-232-3232
Centre 507 Closed until further notice None N/A 507 Bank Street

613-233-5626

https://www.centre507.org/
CMHA Office closed to public (no groups, IASP, etc.) Staff working from home but remaining in contact with clients; providing community support in emergency situations.
Staff unable to drive clients (other means will be provided), essential items can be dropped off for clients outside of their home, no contact to be made.
  311 McArthur Ave, 2nd floor

613-737-7791

https://ottawa.cmha.ca/
South East Ottawa Community Health Centre 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Mon-Fri Open in-person for the following ONLY: harm reduction supplies, anonymous HIV testing, baby cupboard. Other services offered over the phone when possible (including crisis counselling). Shortened service hours

Clients being screened at entrance of 6th floor.

Recommended that clients call the centre for pre-screening before coming in 613-737-5115. If calling is not possible, screening will be done at reception. 

1355 Bank Street, suite 600

613-737-5115

http://www.seochc.on.ca/
Centretown Community Health Centre

Primary care hours: Mon-Wed 8:45 am - 8 pm

Thurs 1- 5 pm

Fri 8:45 am - 4 pm

Urban Health Clinic: Tues/Fri 9 am - 11 am

Harm reduction services: Mon-Wed 9 am - 7 pm, Thurs/Fri 9 am - 3 pm

Urban Outreach Walk-In (Thurs & Fri mornings) continue to run for folks living in rooming houses, shelters, or who are street affected

Social Service walk-in is now running over the phone

See reception for premade harm reduction bags

For primary care, please call ahead at 613-233-4697 for screening and to book a same-day appointment

All clients will be screened at the door

420 Cooper Street

613-233-4697

https://www.centretownchc.org/
Centre 454 Closed None   454 King Edward Avenue

613-235-4351

http://www.centre454.ca/index.php/en/
HEALTH Clinic Closed for in-person visits  Not accepting new patients at this time.  If current patients would like to arrange visit via teleconference, please email reception @voicefound.ca 873-354-5450
https://www.healthclinicottawa.ca/
Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre

Closed for Harm Reduction Supplies

Primary Care by appointment only

No harm reduction services   Existing clients should call to make an appointment  1365 Richmond Road, 2nd floor

613-820-2001

https://www.pqchc.com/
Royal Ottawa Mental Health  No changes to services

Harm reduction services offered to existing clients of ROH only RAAM services available to the community as usual  

  Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders Program

613-722-6521 ext. 6508

https://www.theroyal.ca/patient-care-information/clinics-services-programs/substance-use-and-concurrent-disorders
Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre

Residential sites continue to operate

Aftercare services offered virtually or by phone as needed

Naloxone kits and training continue to be available to clients.

Currently no new admissions being accepted into the program.

  613-594-8333
https://www.davesmithcentre.org/
Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre

Services offered via telephone Mon-Fri

Food bank by appointment only 

Naloxone available to clients – would have to make special arrangements for pick-up  Please call ahead before visiting to access harm reduction services 613-830-4357 240 Centrum Boulevard, Unit 105

613-830-4357

https://www.crcoc.ca/en/
Carlington Community Health Centre 

8:30 am-4:30 pm Mon-Fri

Intake hours for harm reduction supplies 1-4 pm Mon-Fri

Harm reduction supplies available through intake office. HRDU outside continues to operate.

Most services now provided over phone (except HR supplies and foodbank)

Community programs suspended until further notice. 

No evening hours

Clients must buzz doorbell, will be screened at the door and again upon entry. Clients must wear mask and sanitize their hands upon entry.

900 Merivale Road

613-722-4000

https://www.carlington.ochc.org/
Ontario Addictions Treatment Centres No changes to hours Naloxone kits continue to be provided by pharmacy, harm reduction kits available for pick-up New protocol – only 3 people allowed in clinic at a time, everyone else must wait outside until someone exits the clinic.

401 Somerset Street W.
613-233-1114

1318 Carling Avenue
613-627-0856

263 Montreal Road
613-749-9666
https://www.oatc.ca/

Aids Committee of Ottawa (ACO) All drop-in programs cancelled

Tool Shed Harm Reduction Dispensary closed

Services continuing include: weekly food bank (Fridays), one-on-one support on an appointment basis, phone support, online outreach

  19 Main Street
613-238-5014
http://aco-cso.ca/
Ottawa Withdrawal Management Centre &
Montfort Renaissance Inc.
No change to hours

Ottawa Withdrawal Management: No changes to services offered, however may be limiting number of admissions at this time to maintain safe environment for staff/clients.

Montfort Renaissance: The following programs are closed: Day program (Withdrawal Management), Ateliers de l’Élan, seniors programs (day programs, social and recreational activities, community support).
Transportation for medical appointments maintained.

All clients are screened prior to admission on the phone, clients will be referred elsewhere if they have respiratory symptoms. 

Ottawa Withdrawal Management Centre
1777 Montreal Road
613-241-1525

Montfort Renaissance Administration
162 Murray Street
613-789-5144
https://montfortrenaissance.ca/en/

Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa No change to hours

Residential programs remain open

Reduced face-to-face interaction with community clients, though phone support is still available

Harm reduction supplies continue to be available

  311-211 Bronson Avenue
613-237-7427
https://efryottawa.com/
Lowertown Community Resource Centre 10am-3pm Mon-Fri The Centre (40 Coburg) open by telephone only 

Closed drop-in services. Harm reduction services still available to clients, by appointment only. Call ahead for an appointment.

45 Beausoleil (Community House): Food bank continues (Tuesday pm & Wednesday am by appointment only); delivery of meals to families living in emergency shelter (Econolodge) to replace collective kitchens; reception open for phone calls only, no one is allowed inside the building.

The Centre 40 Coburg: Intake, practical assistance, counselling and crisis intervention services offered by telephone appointment. Telephone access for residents still available.

Recommended to call first before accessing services. Office is closed to the public at this time except by phone.

Monday breakfast program @ 45 Beausoleil suspended.

Tax clinic suspended.

Thursday evening reception services suspended.

Computer program in waiting room suspended.

The distribution of vouchers, diapers, bus tickets from the Emergency Fund will be by appointment only (at the door without entering the building).

40 Coburg Street

613-789-3930

Minwaashin Lodge – STORM Van 4 pm-8 pm daily, no service on Tuesdays  Harm reduction services remain available  Reduced service hours 424 Catherine Street
613-265-7558
https://www.minlodge.com/storm
Operation Come Home Closed No in-person services available Youth can be supported by phone, text, and email with housing, employment, addictions, mental health, and more. 150 Gloucester Street
613-230-4663
http://operationcomehome.ca/
Onyx Community Service 11 am-4 pm Mon-Fri Office remains open by phone and return messages at this time   265 Montreal Road
613-422-2294 OR
1-888-833-5303
https://onyxcommunityservices.org/
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health 9 am-5:30 pm Mon-Fri Health services remain open, harm reduction supplies available (injection supplies)  

Shortened hours

Clients screened at door

299 Montreal Road
613-748-5999
https://wabano.com/
Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa 12 pm-6 pm Mon-Fri
1 pm-6pm Sat/Sun

Harm reduction supplies and food bank available by buzzing at front door of Besserer location.

Youth Mental Health Walk-in Clinic closed.

Residential services remain open.

 

No change to drop-in hours

Building closed to public – phone only assistance.

147 Besserer Street
613-241-7788 extension 300
https://www.ysb.ca/
St. Luke’s Table 11 am-12 pm

Bagged lunches served at door

All other programming suspended

Available by phone at 613-238-4193 – please call if you are in need  760 Somerset St. West
Office: 613-238-4193
Drop-in: 613-234-6287
The Well 10 am-1 pm Mon-Fri

Bagged lunches and hygiene supplies provided at door at 154 Somerset St. West

All other programming suspended

 
Available by phone at 613-594-8861 – please call if you are in need 154 Somerset Street West
613-594-8861
https://the-well.ca/
Cornerstone     Waiting for further details 314 Booth Street
613-254-6584
https://www.cornerstonewomen.ca/
Ottawa Mission Community Programs  12:30-1 pm 

Community meal served outside

Clothing room closed

All other community services suspended

  35 Waller Street
613-234-1144
https://ottawamission.com/
Restoring Hope Ministries (Haven Youth Care Centre)  Open at 10 pm Fri/Sat/Sun

Only youth who need a place to sleep allowed in to shelter.

Youth in need of food and other supplies can access at the door only. 
Services reduced from 5 nights/week to 3 nights/week (Fri/Sat/Sun)

First Baptist Church

140 Laurier Street (at Elgin)

https://restoringhope.ca/main/
Salvation Army Foodbank  By appointment only   Please call for an appointment   613-241-1573 ext. 221
Salvation Army Van 11 am - 3 am, 7days/week Urgent transport only (ex. to hospital) Clients will be screened for respiratory symptoms before entry To access transportation services, call 311
The Walk-In Counselling Clinics  Wed/Thurs/Fri/Sun See website for available clinics and phone numbers. Services offered by phone/video conference only.     https://walkincounselling.com/
Riverside Drugstore 9 am - 5 pm Mon-Fri  Harm reduction supplies remain available  No changes to service hours

1919 Riverside Drive

613-523-3066
Trust Care Pharmasave No change Harm reduction supplies remain available No change to hours 

1020 St. Laurent Boulevard

613-749-8577
Palmyra Guardian 9 am - 6 pm Mon-Fri
9 am - 3 pm Sat
10 am -11 am Sun
Harm reduction supplies remain available  No change to hours

1013 Merivale Road

613-729-7007
Parkway Pharmacy 8 am - 10 pm Harm reduction supplies remain available Reduced service hours (previously closed at midnight)

1300 Stittsville Main Street

613-831-0901
Centretown Pharmacy

6am-6pm Mon-Fri

8am-4pm Sat-Sun
Harm reduction supplies remain available  No change to hours

326 Bank Street

613-422-2900
Whole Health Pharmacy Ogilvie

9am-7pm Mon-Fri

10am-3pm Sat
Closed Sun

Harm reduction supplies remain available No change to hours

1150 Cadboro Road

613-749-7455
Sobeys Pharmacy 

9am-8pm Mon-Fri

10am-6pm Sat

11am-6pm Sun
Harm reduction supplies remain available  Reduced service hours 

5150 Innes Road

613-590-7144

Resources

Harm reduction dispensing units

In 2017, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched a pilot project that saw four (4) harm reduction dispensing units installed at various locations across the city. Harm reduction programs and services are an integral part of Ottawa Public Health's front-line work within the City of Ottawa. The harm reduction dispensing units fill a current gap in service for those who need safer drug using supplies when in-person services are not available.

What is a harm reduction dispensing machine?

A harm reduction dispensing unit (HRDUs) is a machine that distributes safer drug using supplies such as sterile needles and other safer injection supplies as well as supplies for safer inhalation. Harm reduction materials help prevent the re-use or sharing of needles and other materials with a goal of reducing the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. 

Where are the harm dispensing units installed?

The harm reduction dispensing units are installed at four locations in the city:

  • Ottawa Public Health Site Needle & Syringe Program - 179 Clarence Street
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre - 221 Nelson Street
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre - 55 Eccles Street
  • Carlington Community Health Services - 900 Merivale Road
What do the harm reduction dispensing units contain?

The harm reduction dispensing units contain single-use equipment to help prevent disease transmission and reduce potential health risks associated with drug use. The units will supply:

  • Sterile needles and other safer injection supplies as well as supplies for safer inhalation, and information on how to access harm reduction services
  • All safer injection supplies are packaged in a small biohazard container for safe disposal and safer inhalation supplies are packaged in an envelope
  • Each safer injection pack contains alcohol swabs, sterile needles, steri-cups, sterile water and a tourniquet
  • Each safer inhalation kit contains glass stems, packs of screens, push sticks, mouthpieces and a token
Will harm reduction units replace front-line services that Ottawa Public Health offers?

Harm reduction dispensing units complement and do not replace front-line services. Ottawa Public Health recognizes the value of front-line contact and the opportunity for support, and referral to other services (such as mental health, treatment).  The addition of harm reduction dispensing units ensures that people can access harm reduction supplies during times of the day when services are closed.

Why are the dispensing units being implemented?

Results from several local studies that have examined the needs of people who use drugs in Ottawa have identified that there is a need to increase access to harm reduction services in the city. On June 20 2016, the Board of Health (BOH) approved a report entitled  Enhanced Harm Reduction Services in Ottawa - Data, Guiding Principle and Next Steps and updated the Board of Health June 19, 2017 with its report entitled Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention - Overview and Update.

Harm reduction dispensing units have been introduced in several European countries including Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and are also available in Australia and New Zealand. Dispensing units have proven effective in serving hard-to-reach high-risk populations, as the anonymous and confidential nature makes these services accessible to these groups. Currently, Vancouver is the only other city in Canada where you can find harm reduction dispensing units.

How can the harm reduction dispensing units be accessed?
The harm reduction dispensing units can only be accessed by a token that is provided by program staff at one of the partner agencies where the units are located. When people access services for tokens they will also be provided with education about safer drug use, safe equipment disposal and offered information about other health, social and treatment services available. 

Supervised consumption services at Ottawa Public Health

Supervised consumption services

On September 22, 2017, under Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Health Canada provided an exemption to Ottawa Public Health via the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre authorizing the operation of Supervised Injection Services (SIS) on an interim basis by Ottawa Public Health at 179 Clarence Street. On May 10, 2018, OPH was granted an exemption from the Controlled Drugs & Substance Act (CDSA) to operate a Supervised Consumption Site under the section 56.1 of the CDSA, valid for one year.

The Health Canada exemptions allow OPH to offer health services that provide a hygienic environment for people to either inject, swallow or inhale pre-obtained drugs under supervision. The supervised consumption service (SCS) is staffed with public health employees with experience in harm reduction and trained and authorized to provide supervised consumption services.

While SCS is an important component of any comprehensive approach to working with people who inject, swallow or snort drugs, it will not solve all the issues related to the current opioid crisis.

OPH is working closely with Ottawa Police Services (OPS), the City of Ottawa's Corporate Security Services and Ottawa Community Housing to ensure safety for staff, clients, and the surrounding community and is committed to continuing an ongoing dialogue with the community.

OPH will continue to monitor the situation and work alongside and in support of partners, including local shelters, other local harm reduction service providers, peer-led services and the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force, who all share a common goal of saving lives from potential overdoses.

What are supervised consumption services?

OPH has enhanced its existing harm reduction services by adding a supervised consumption service (SCS) to its existing services for people who inject, swallow or snort drugs (OPH's Site program at 179 Clarence Street). Supervised consumption services are health services that provide a hygienic environment for people to inject pre-obtained drugs under supervision.

Supervised consumption services have four (4) main goals [1] [2]

  1. To reduce spread of infectious diseases (HIV and hepatitis C);
  2. To reduce the number of drug overdose deaths;
  3. To bring people who inject, swallow or snort drugs into contact with other health and social and treatment services; and,
  4. To reduce issues in the community such as drug use in public places, and discarded needles.

In addition to supervised consumption, individuals are provided with sterile injection supplies, clean inhalation supplies, education on safer consumption, overdose prevention and intervention, medical and counselling services, and referrals to drug treatment, housing, income support and other services.

What is the difference between supervised consumption services and overdose prevention services?

The permanency and range of services offered at each site are the main differences between the two.

Overdose Prevention Services (OPS):

Overdose Prevention Services are an extension of existing harm reduction programs that provide easy-to-access, life-saving harm reduction services in a stigma-free environment, to help reduce the growing number of opioid-related overdose deaths. The sites will provide:

        •Supervised injection

        •Harm reduction supplies, including disposal of used supplies

        •Naloxone

Sites may also provide additional services based on local need and capacity, including supervised oral and intranasal drug consumption and fentanyl test strips as a drug checking service.

OPS that meet the necessary criteria will be approved to operate on a time-limited basis, usually three to six months (with the possibility of extension), by the Province of Ontario. OPS may act as “interim” services as they are set-up rather quickly (only a few weeks) to address an immediate need in the community while waiting to establish Supervised Consumptions Services.  For more information on OPS criteria and application process please visit http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/news/bulletin/2018/hb_20180111.aspx

Supervised Consumption Services (SCS):

A SCS is tailored to be a permanent site with integrated support services. As such, the application process to Health Canada for a SCS is more complex and involves several steps. The process can take months as it includes fulsome consultations with the community, partners and participants along with selecting and renovating a permanent location. Health Canada grants a one-year exemption and once expired a renewal application is reviewed for another year exemption. SCS must have registered nurses on staff working under medical directives in order to provide medical intervention such as administering oxygen. Another requirement for SCS is to have a network of support services at their sites for individuals, such as addiction treatment programs, counselling and support for permanent housing. At 179 Clarence, the SCS offers direct links to these kinds of services and allows injection, oral or intranasal forms of consumption. 

Why do we need supervised consumption services in Ottawa?

Research has concluded that Ottawa would benefit from multiple supervised consumption services (SCS) that are integrated into health services already working with people who use drugs. Conditions in Ottawa support the need for SCS.

Rates of HIV (10%) and hepatitis C (70%) infection among people who inject drugs in Ottawa are higher than for the general population.[3] In addition, twenty-five percent of people who inject drugs usually or always inject in public places and 19% report sometimes injecting in a public place [4].

A total of 48 Ottawa residents died from unintentional drug overdose in 2015, 29 (60%) of which were due to opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine. [5]  Between 2000 and 2015, the rate of death due to unintentional drug overdose from any drug increased 23% in Ottawa. Unintentional overdose deaths due to opioids were 2.7 times higher during 2009-2015 (24 per year) compared to 2003-2008 (9 per year). For more drug use and overdose statistics, see OPH's website.

Recent anecdotal information from community groups and service agencies are reporting increased numbers of overdoses and deaths. Even though many of these overdoses are not seen in emergency departments, there were nearly 700 drug overdose-related Emergency Department visits during the first half of 2017.

Are other supervised injection/consumption services operating in Ottawa?

Currently there are three other supervised injection sites in Ottawa:

  • Ottawa Inner City Health - Trailer
  • Sandy Hill CHC
  • Somerset West CHC

All of the above are operating under exemptions from the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). 

Why is supervised consumption service needed at Ottawa Public Health at this time? Why do we need supervised consumption service if we already have harm reduction services such as needle and syringe programs?

OPH works with over 20 community agencies to provide harm reduction services in Ottawa and is actively working with municipal and community agencies to address the opioid crisis in our community, which includes increasing overdose peer support in the community and ensuring naloxone is readily available to prevent overdoses.

Supervised consumption services will improve harm reduction services that are currently offered in Ottawa. SCS provide a safe, clean, indoor, supervised environment for people to inject, swallow or snort illicit drugs with an opportunity for safer drug use teaching, overdose prevention support, and referral to counselling, withdrawal management, and addiction and other health care services. Without a safe place to use illicit drugs, people may use in isolation thereby increasing the risk of overdose death and/or may inject, swallow or snort in public spaces. Using illicit drugs in public is not only an issue for people who are homeless, but people living in shared accommodation or shelters may be afraid of losing their accommodation if they use on the premises, so they turn to public spaces. [6]Research has found that people who inject drugs will only travel short distances (i.e. a few city blocks) to use health services, including supervised injection services.[7] [8] The SCS will allow OPH to address the ever-growing public health issue and the continued need for opioid overdose prevention services.

How does the supervised consumption service at OPH work?

A number of people who use the services are already existing clients of OPH's Site program.

Clients arrive at the program with pre-obtained drugs. Each person is assessed to ensure they are eligible for the program. Clients are then given sterile injecting equipment or clean inhalation supplies  with instruction on safer drug use. A nurse supervises their consumption in a room dedicated for this purpose, and intervenes in the case of any medical emergencies. Once the clients have consumed their drugs, they are directed to a waiting area, and encouraged to stay for 15 minutes to be observed for any negative drug reactions. Clients also receive information and referrals about other health and social supports. This small-scale service has 2 consumption booths and is located in the Site program's existing location at 179 Clarence Street. The Site program and the supervised consumption service are open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The SCS is staffed by public health nurses trained in supervised consumption and overdose response, and by outreach/social workers and Peer Educators experienced and trained in harm reduction.

What are the benefits of supervised consumption services?

International and Canadian research shows that supervised consumption services have benefits both for individuals using the services and for the community, including:

  • Reducing the number of drug overdoses and deaths;
  • Reducing risk factors leading to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis;
  • Increasing the use of detox and drug treatment services;
  • Connecting people with other health and social services;
  • Reducing the amount of publicly discarded needles;
  • Cost-effectiveness; and,
  • Not contributing to crime or increased drug use in the local community.
Are supervised consumption services legal?
Yes. In Canada, supervised consumption services operate through an exemption under Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The exemption allows health services to operate without the risk that its clients or staff will be charged for the crime of having illegal drugs. Exemptions are granted by the federal Minister of Health in situations that are seen as "necessary for medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest". [9]
Won't these services just encourage more drug use?
People do not start using drugs because of the availability of supervised consumption services. There is no evidence that harm reduction services promote drug use. Supervised consumption services are used mainly by people with a long history of drug use. Research has also found that supervised consumption services do not cause people to relapse (e.g., start using drugs after a period of abstinence) or prevent people from stopping drug use altogether.
Will the supervised consumption service increase crime in the neighbourhood or threaten public health and safety?

Research has shown that harm reduction programs do not increase public disorder or threaten public safety. In fact, they tend to have the opposite effect. Supervised consumption services are located in neighbourhoods where there is a demonstrated need, usually where drug use is already having an impact on the community. Harm reduction programs have a positive impact on public health and safety by:

  • Preventing blood-borne infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C among people using drugs
  • Ensuring that more needles and syringes are disposed of safely through programs, rather than discarded in the community
  • Supporting agreements between police and harm reduction services that ensure drug trafficking laws are enforced. This creates an environment where open drug dealing is discouraged, and people who use drugs are encouraged to access needed services.
How will OPH ensure public and community safety for individuals in the neighbourhood who are not SCS clients?
OPH is working closely with Ottawa Police Services (OPS), Corporate Security and Ottawa Community Housing to ensure safety for staff, clients, and surrounding community.
Will there be an opportunity for community input?

OPH conducted a public consultation in 2016 (see report for results of the consultation). Among the consultation's findings:

  • 66% of respondents thought that having supervised injection services available would be beneficial.
  • 60% of respondents thought that offering harm reduction services in more areas of the city would be beneficial.

Feedback, comments, questions from the public are always welcome using your choice of communications channel. Contact information here.

Supervised Consumption Site Data

Summary of Ottawa consumption and treatment services for July - September 2019
Number of visits 33588
Top drugs reported opioids (including fentanyl, heroin, and other unspecified) and stimulants (including speed, crystal meth and crack cocaine)
Number of overdoses treated with solely oxygen/rescue breathing and stimulation 166
Number of overdoses treated with naloxone 126
Number of clients transported to an emergency department related to an overdose 5
Total number of addiction/counseling, detox program, and opioid withdrawal support and/or treatment (eg. methadone, suboxone) referrals* 247

 Combined data from Ottawa Inner City Health, Somerset West Community Health Centre (CHC), Sandy Hill CHC, and Ottawa Public Health

*Includes data from  Somerset West Community Health Centre (CHC), Sandy Hill CHC, and Ottawa Public Health

Archived data

Ottawa Public Health

Ottawa Inner City Health

Somerset West Community Health Centre

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre

Summary of Ottawa consumption and treatment services for April - June 2019
Number of visits 30202
Top drugs reported opioids (including fentanyl, heroin, and other unspecified) and stimulants (including speed, crystal meth and crack cocaine)
Number of overdoses treated with solely oxygen/rescue breathing and stimulation 278
Number of overdoses treated with naloxone 295
Number of clients transported to an emergency department related to an overdose 6
Total number of service referrals* 2252
Total number of addiction/counseling, detox program, and opioid withdrawal support and/or treatment (eg. methadone, suboxone) referrals* 203

Summary of Ottawa consumption and treatment services for January - March 2019
Number of visits 20433
Top drugs reported fentanyl, speed, heroin, crystal meth, hydromorphone, crack cocaine
Number of overdoses treated with solely oxygen/rescue breathing and stimulation 80
Number of overdoses treated with naloxone 166
Number of clients transported to an emergency department related to an overdose 7
Total number of service referrals 6621
Total number of addiction/counseling, detox program, and opioid withdrawal support and/or treatment (eg. methadone, suboxone) referrals 511

Ottawa Public Health 2019 Supervised Consumption Site Data
Week startingVisits*,†Naloxone administrationsOxygen administrationsCalls to 911 for drug overdose
2019-01-07 189 1 1 0
2019-01-14 177 1 1 1
2019-01-21 208 0 0 0
2019-01-28 218 3 3 1
2019-02-04 188 0 0 0
2019-02-11 163 0 0 0
2019-02-18 155 0 0 0
2019-02-25 118 0 1 0
2019-03-04 163 0 1 0
2019-03-11 196 0 0 0
2019-03-18 234 1 1 1
2019-03-25 230 0 2 0
Ottawa Public Health 2018 Supervised Consumption Site Data
Week startingVisits*,†Naloxone administrationsOxygen administrationsCalls to 911 for drug overdose
2018-01-01 158 0 0 0
2018-01-08 172 0 0 0
2018-01-15 184 0 0 0
2018-01-22 178 0 0 0
2018-01-29 232 2 2 2
2018-02-05 229 0 1 0
2018-02-12 264 0 1 0
2018-02-19 209 1 2 1
2018-02-26 224 0 0 0
2018-03-05 200 0 0 0
2018-03-12 193 0 1 1
2018-03-19 159 0 0 0
2018-03-26 178 0 1 0
2018-04-02 177 1 1 1
2018-04-09 180 0 1 0
2018-04-16 183 0 0 0
2018-04-23 208 1 2 1
2018-04-30 225 0 0 0
2018-05-07 191 0 1 1
2018-05-14 211 0 0 0
2018-05-21 214 0 0 0
2018-05-28 197 2 3 3
2018-06-04 187 3 4 2
2018-06-11 188 1 1 0
2018-06-18 198 0 1 0
2018-06-25 223 1 1 1
2018-07-02 230 0 2 1
2018-07-09 223 0 0 0
2018-07-16 236 1 1 0
2018-07-23 206 0 2 0
2018-07-30 285 4 6 3
2018-08-06 275 0 0 0
2018-08-13 242 1 5 0
2018-08-20 225 1 2 1
2018-08-27 271 0 1 0
2018-09-03 241 0 2 0
2018-09-10 209 2 4 0
2018-09-17 186 1 2 0
2018-09-24 213 2 8 0
2018-10-01 213 1 6 0
2018-10-08 243 2 5 0
2018-10-15 252 0 3 0
2018-10-22 259 0 1 1
2018-10-29 245 1 4 0
2018-11-05 227 2 4 0
2018-11-12 215 1 2 1
2018-11-19 177 2 4 1
2018-11-26 241 4 6 0
2018-12-03 188 0 1 0
2018-12-10 212 0 3 0
2018-12-17 248 2 4 2
2018-12-24 211 1 1 0
2018-12-31 216 0 1 0
Ottawa Public Health 2017 Supervised Consumption Site Data
Week startingVisits*,†Naloxone administrationsOxygen administrations

Calls to 911 for drug overdose

2017-09-25 50‡ 0 0 0
2017-10-02 41 0 1 0
2017-10-09 110§ 0 0 0
2017-10-16 159 0 1 0
2017-10-23 196 0 1 0
2017-10-30 254 0 0 0
2017-11-06 190 0 0 0
2017-11-13 154 0 1 1
2017-11-20 124 0 0 0
2017-11-27 216 0 0 0
2017-12-04 217 0 0 0
2017-12-11 174 1 1 1
2017-12-18 142 0 0 0
2017-12-25 153 0 2 0

* OPH numbers refer to number of visits, not number of clients.  Only visits for supervised injection services are included in these counts.  (Visits only for drug supplies are not included.) 

†An injection does not always occur at a visit for supervised injection services.  During September - December 2017, an injection occurred at 99% of visits.

‡OPH supervised injection services began on September 26, 2017 for 6 hours / day, 7 days / week.

§OPH supervised injection services were offered 12 hours / day, 7 days / week beginning October 10, 2017.


Inner City Health 2018 Supervised Consumption Site Data
Week startingVisitsNaloxone administrationsOxygen administrationsCalls to 911 for drug overdoses
2018-04-23 967 2 2 0
2018-04-30 875 3 4 0
2018-05-07 865 10 10 0
2018-05-14 850 13 13 0
2018-05-21 684 7 7 0
2018-05-28 835 6 6 0
2018-06-04 631 7 7 1
2018-06-11 684 0 0 0
2018-06-18 586 5 5 0
2018-06-25 945 10 10 0
2018-07-02 725 3 3 0
2018-07-09 765 6 7 0
2018-07-16 781 3 3 0
2018-07-23 901 6 5 1
2018-07-30 918 24 24 1
2018-08-06 1027 11 11 0
2018-08-13 1058 20 20 1
2018-08-20 897 14 14 0
2018-08-27 790 16 16 1
2018-09-03 1034 18 18 1
2018-09-10 1020 16 16 1
2018-09-17 1122 16 16 1
2018-09-24 1155 12 12 0
2018-10-01 1044 13 13 2
2018-10-08 1112 11 11 0
2018-10-15 1075 8 8 0
2018-10-22 1036 13 13 1
2018-10-29 340 30 30 0
2018-11-05 332 9 9 1
2018-11-12 777 8 8 1
2018-11-19 725 5 5 0
2018-11-26 745 25 25 2
2018-12-03 773 19 19 0
2018-12-10 908 20 20 0
2018-12-17 916 15 15 1
2018-12-24 761 6 6 0

Somerset West Community Health Centre 2018 Supervised Consumption Site Data
DateVisitsNaloxone administrationsOxygen administrationsCalls to 911 for drug overdose
July - September 2018 1051 7 2 1
October - December 2018 3451 N/A N/A N/A

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre 2018 Supervised Consumption Site Data
Week startingVisitsNaloxone administrationsOxygen administrationsCalls to 911 for drug overdose
2018-04-16 16 0 0 0
2018-04-23 18 0 0 0
2018-04-30 52 0 0 0
2018-05-07 31 0 0 0
2018-05-14 34 0 0 0
2018-05-21 52 0 0 0
2018-05-28 77 1 0 0
2018-06-04 36 0 0 0
2018-06-11 57 0 0 0
2018-06-18 38 0 1 1
2018-06-25 69 1 0 0
2018-07-02 44 0 0 0
2018-07-09 40 1 0 0
2018-07-16 36 0 0 0
2018-07-23 51 0 0 0
2018-07-30 70 0 0 0
2018-08-06 46 1 0 0
2018-08-13 51 1 0 0
2018-08-20 57 0 0 0
2018-08-27 79 1 0 0
2018-09-03 84 0 1 0
2018-09-10 81 1 0 0
2018-09-17 76 0 0 0
2018-09-24 103 1 1 1
2018-10-01 128 0 0 0
2018-10-08 82 0 0 0
2018-10-15 113 1 0 0
2018-10-22 138 1 0 1
2018-10-29 169 7 1 0
2018-11-05 178 3 0 0
2018-11-12 148 3 1 0
2018-11-19 164 0 0 0
2018-11-26 220 2 0 0
2018-12-03 166 3 1 1
2018-12-10 154 1 0 0
2018-12-17 177 4 2 1
2018-12-24 61 1 1 0

Evaluation of OPH's Interim Supervised Injection Service

To respond to an emergency situation in Ottawa, and to enhance harm reduction and help prevent overdoses in the community, Ottawa Public Heath (OPH) started offering supervised injection services (SIS) on an interim basis at its Clarence Street location. Between September 2017 and December 2017, OPH evaluated the implementation and operations of its interim SIS. The evaluation monitored how the services were used (i.e. client data, services provided) and the experiences of four distinct groups: clients, employees, neighbours (residents and businesses) and community partners. We gathered information through: a review of clinical forms; client comment cards; focus groups with partners and employees; surveys with clients and with neighbours (collected by going door-to-door); and, secondary data sources, such as police data and calls/contacts to 311 and OPH’s contact centre.

OPH’s Interim SIS, by the numbers (September 26, 2017 – January 22, 2018)

  • 174 unique clients served
  • +1,800 on-site health services provided
  • 85% of clients received health services on-site
  • 25% of clients were referred to other services
  • +70 referrals (health care 83%, mental health 28%, housing 21%, opioid substitution therapy 14%)

Here is what our stakeholders told us:

Clients
Overall, clients were satisfied with the various services received. Clients told us they:

  • Felt safer when they use drugs at the SIS (93%)
  • Injected in public less often (87%)
  • Thought more about reducing or stopping using drugs (60%)
  • Injected alone (by themselves) less often (77%)
  • Felt that their drug use was more stable/less chaotic (77%)
  • Reported a strong likelihood of recommending the service to other people who inject drugs (97%)
  • Believed that staff provided good support (97%)
  • Felt that staff had talked/helped them access other services (70%)

Selected quotes from clients:

  • "I have overdosed at least 5 times in my life; since you opened I haven’t overdosed."
  • "I feel I am supported and accepted even though I am a drug addict. I feel that I matter."
  • "I have never felt like I can talk with health professionals so openly about my drug use. I am able to talk about others issues in my life. E.g. the other day they helped me by connecting me with mental health. All around they’ve been very helpful." 

Employees
Employees are passionate about helping SIS clients and they enjoy their therapeutic relationships with clients. Team collaboration is strong. Overall, they are satisfied with their additional roles and responsibilities at the SIS. 

Some recommendations from employees:

  • Implement a workplace employee peer-support program
  • Develop a formal training plan
  • Develop a sustainable and more comprehensive model that includes best practices

Neighbours (residents, businesses)
Neighbours have diverse opinions regarding their support for SIS and about the impact that OPH’s interim SIS has had on them,

  • 51% support SIS
  • 37% not supportive
  • 12% were undecided

Regarding the impact of OPH opening an interim SIS in the neighborhood,

  • 44% indicated the impact has been “negative” or “very negative”
  • 39% reported the impact has been “positive” or “very positive”
  • 7% were “neutral”

Concerns expressed by residents include: threats to personal safety, damage to public and personal property, dissatisfaction with officials when responding to their issues and concerns, and an increase in disruptive/nuisance behaviors in the neighborhood.

Partners
The majority believed that OPH’s interim SIS has had no impact on their organization. Those who indicated that there was a negative impact perceive an increase presence of public drug use. While partners talked about public injecting, there were mixed perspectives on whether public injecting has increased or decreased as a result of the new SIS. Partners who were involved in advising OPH on its interim SIS were satisfied with their involvement. There are several factors external to OPH that may have influenced implementation and the experience of those involved with and impacted by the SIS. This included the opening and ending of operations of Overdose Prevention Ottawa’s ‘pop-up’ tent in Raphael Brunet Park and the opening of Shepherds of Good Hope’s SIS trailer; changes in drug use patterns among people who use drugs; and increasing number of overdoses in the community. There is agreement amongst community partners that there are many factors not related to OPH’s SIS that may have impacted the community. As such, it is difficult to attribute causality between OPH’s interim SIS and any impact on the community and partner agencies’ operations. 

For more information:
View the Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Follow-up Report received and approved by the Ottawa Board of Health on February 5, 2018.

References

1. Strike, C et al. (2012). Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment Study. Available online:  http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/pdf/research/SMH-TOSCA-report.pdf

2. Fischer, B et al. (2002). Safer injection facilities (SIFs) for injection drug users (IDUs) in Canada, Canadian Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 336-338

3. I-Track, HIV & HCV Prevention Research Team, University of Ottawa, 2015.

4. Findings of the Ottawa Harm Reduction Needs Assessment Report, Ottawa Public Health, 2014

5. Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, extracted June 7, 2016. 

6. Toronto Public Health. (2013). Supervised Injection Services Toolkit. Available online: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-59914.pdf

7. Toronto Public Health. (2013). Supervised Injection Services Toolkit. Available online: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-59914.pdf

8. Strike, C et al. (2012). Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment Study. Available online: http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/pdf/research/SMH-TOSCA-report.pdf 

9. Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (S.C. 1996, c.19).  

 

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