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10 Oct 2017

PrEP in Ontario – Update for Community

AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), September 28, 2017

Contact: Amanda Leo aleo@whai.ca 416-340-8484 ext. 221 Alex Urquhart aurquhart@actoronto.org 416-340-8484 ext. 234

On September 28, 2017, PrEP became more accessible to people living in Ontario than ever before. PrEP is a highly effective way to prevent HIV that involves taking a pill every day and going for regular checkups with a doctor. ACT has long advocated for increased access to PrEP, and welcomed this news. But drug coverage in Ontario is confusing, so here’s a brief rundown of how this news affects you. 

04 Oct 2017

Ontario forms opioid emergency task force to address ongoing crisis

Group will include harm-reduction workers, those who have experienced addiction

By Andrea Janus, CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2017

The province will create an emergency task force to help address the ongoing opioid crisis, the minister of health announced Wednesday.

The opioid task force, which will operate out of the health ministry's emergency operations centre, will include front-line harm reduction workers, emergency responders, mental health and addiction professionals, public health experts, other provincial ministries and municipal representatives, health-care groups and people who live with addiction.

27 Sep 2017

Ottawa’s first legal safe injection site opens

179 Clarence will operate until Sandy Hill site opens

Sep 26, 2017 by Nevil Hunt  Ottawa East News

Ottawa’s first supervised — and legal — safe injection site is now open.

Ottawa Public Health is hosting the clinic at 179 Clarence St., between Dalhousie and King Edward, starting Sept. 26. It’s open from 3 to 8 p.m. each day, and those hours will be extended as more staff is trained to observe intravenous drug users, and help them in the case of overdose.

The small room set up for users to inject drugs comes with a crash cart — medical equipment to help if someone overdoses or has a bad reaction to a drug. A defibrillator and oxygen tanks stand at the ready. Two registered nurses will be present, sitting a few steps from the people who inject drugs.

25 Sep 2017

Interim supervised injection site to open Tuesday

CBC News, September 22, 2017

Volunteers running the SIS tent are not committing to shutting down their site

The precursor to Ottawa's first permanent supervised safe injection site will open its doors to clients on Tuesday, Sept. 26. But it's not clear the nearby tent offering support to drug users will shut down.

The interim supervised drug injection site will be located at the Ottawa Public Health office on Clarence Street. For years, many in the medical community have pressed for a drug consumption site, citing growing rates of drug overdoses in the city. 

The interim site on Clarence Street will be open 7 days a week, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

05 Sep 2017

Vancouver consumption site to allow nasal and oral drug use to prevent overdoses

Health Canada has granted an exemption to the Powell Street Getaway supervised consumption site to allow drugs to be taken in several ways.

By: Matt Kieltyka

 

A Vancouver supervised consumption site is now able to monitor people who ingest or snort drugs to prevent overdose deaths.

Like many facilities of its kind, the Powell Street Getaway – which opened July 28 – could only provide supervision to people who inject drugs.

But Vancouver Coastal Health announced Friday that Health Canada has granted the site an exemption to allow for nasal and oral consumption of drugs as well.

“We know people dying of overdoses are not just injecting, and we are pleased that Health Canada has acknowledged the value of keeping people who ingest drugs in other ways safe too,” said B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy in a statement.

“Oral and intranasal drug consumption carry a risk of overdose, but they are less risky than injection,” said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer at VCH. ”It makes no sense to turn away people who choose to consume drugs in a safer manner, but who still require supervision.”

18 Aug 2017

B.C. report calls for decriminalization of illicit drugs to quell opioid epidemic

B.C. Centre for Disease Control releases list of recommendations to prevent overdose deaths

CBC News

August 17, 2017

 

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has released 10 recommendations to reduce the number of overdose deaths across B.C., a list that includes the decriminalization of illicit drugs.

More than 100 stakeholders gathered at the B.C. Overdose Action Exchange meeting in June to develop the report, which seeks to take action on the province's opioid epidemic that has claimed an unprecedented 800 lives since January 2017.

"Every month, when the [overdose] numbers come out, people are kind of holding their breath that it might be going down," said Dr. Mark Tyndall, the executive medical director of the BCCDC.

  • More than 4 people a day die in B.C. from illicit drugs, coroner says

"It is extremely disheartening, especially when you think the most vulnerable people have probably already passed away."

27 Jul 2017

Feds approve Ottawa’s first supervised injection site

by Jon Willing

 

The first supervised injection site in the nation’s capital could be open within months now that the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre has a conditional approval from Health Canada.

The federal government signed off on the health centre’s application Wednesday after receiving the request for an injection site last January.

Once a follow-up inspection is done and provincial money comes through, clients will enter one of five injection stations on the first floor of the health centre’s facility on Nelson Street and shoot his or her drugs under the supervision of health experts.

Rob Boyd, director of the harm-reduction program at the centre, said staff can now focus on renovations for the injection room and work with the province on funding.

He wants to have the injection site up and running as soon as possible, but he expects it won’t be until October that the service is ready.

“For many of our clients, this is a difference between life and death,” Boyd said. “This is going to make a huge positive impact.”

19 Jul 2017

Ontario study raises red flags over methadone distribution

Kelly Grant - HEALTH REPORTER

The Globe and Mail

More than half of the methadone distributed in Ontario is prescribed by just 57 doctors, most of whom work in high-volume clinics that provide assembly-line medical care to the burgeoning number of patients struggling with opioid addictions, a new study says.

The authors of a report published on Wednesday in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence say their findings are proof of an open secret in addictions medicine: that past financial incentives from the Ontario government helped to concentrate treatment in chains of clinics where opioid-dependent patients can access methadone, but little else in the way of counselling or physician support.

19 Jul 2017

Drug users share ideas to fix fentanyl crisis

Rafferty Baker, CBC News

 

CBC News asked street drug users in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside their opinions on what might reduce the number of people succumbing to fatal opioid overdoses.

Give users access to clean, predictable drugs

Danielle Trudeau, 43, has been addicted to drugs for 25 years. In that time Trudeau has overdosed about 15 times — but 10 of those overdoses happened in the past three months.

She said two things could help improve the situation: access to affordable housing and access to clean, predictable drugs.

Trudeau said users have a hard time distinguishing what drugs they're consuming. 

"This stuff keeps changing colour all the time, so you know, you can't keep on top of it, the stuff that's overdosing everybody," said Trudeau, who uses heroin.

"It used to be all one colour, now it's changing colour and just when we all start to get used to what dose we can take, it changes again."

13 Jul 2017

Overdose warning system aims to alert users about potentially deadly drugs

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

 

VANCOUVER -- Medical health officers in the Vancouver area are aiming to quickly warn drug users about clusters of overdoses and batches of contaminated drugs based on reports from people who use illegal substances.

Sara Young, the regional leader of mental health and substance use for Vancouver Coastal Health, said the data would help staff decide what action needs to be taken to prevent fatal overdoses in the midst of an opioid overdose crisis.

The pilot project started Tuesday with an online web form and a texting service that can be used by people who have registered to receive alerts, said Young, who worked with substance users to create the alert process.

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