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Proposed Supervised Injection Services
On June 1, 2016, the Board of Directors of Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC) approved the possible expansion the Centre’s harm reduction program to include supervised injection services (SIS). This would mean that people who use intravenous drugs could do so at SWCHC under medical supervision.
SWCHC is currently completing an application for an exemption under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for the purpose of adding SIS to SWCHC’s existing harm reduction program. These services are for Ottawa residents who have problematic substance use.
Once completed, the Board of Directors will review and approve the exemption application before SWCHC submits it to Health Canada, the government department responsible for granting the exemption. SWCHC intends to submit its application in June 2017.
Should SWCHC receive the exemption, the Centre would begin to offer SIS in 2018.
Why offer supervised injection services (SIS)?
SWCHC plans to offer SIS because every person deserves access to safe health services. SIS save lives by reducing overdoses and the spread of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
SIS are also beneficial because they provide a point of contact with the health system for injection drug users who are typically not well connected to health care services. Supervised injection is the first step in the continuum of care for people with chronic drug addiction and mental illness.
Who are these services for?
Most people who will use SIS already use SWCHC’s harm reduction program, called the Needle Exchange and Safer Inhalation (NESI) program. NESI clients are typically older and have been using drugs for a long time. Because of their lifestyles, most of these people are marginalized and are homeless or precariously housed. Many also have mental health issues.
Through NESI, clients develop trusting relationships with our health and social services workers. This makes them more likely to pursue addiction counselling and other addiction treatment services. SIS would mean people who use drugs have better access to health services.
Have you consulted the community?
Yes. We held several public consultation sessions in March 2017 to obtain feedback from the community on our proposed model for delivering SIS.
To read a report on the community consultations, click here.
We understand you may have questions about SIS. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Should you have further questions, please contact:
Eugene Williams, Manager of Health Promotion & Community Programs
Phone: 613-238-8210 ext. 2243
You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.