Canada’s overdose crisis continues to grow, claiming nearly 4,000 lives last year alone. In the midst of this emergency, more than 1,000 frontline workers converged in Edmonton last month for Stimulus 2018, Canada’s first national conference on harm reduction and drug policy.
By Tara Marie Watson and Carol Strike
Supervised injection services (SIS) provide safer spaces for people to inject drugs and help reduce the risk of overdose and behaviours linked to HIV and hepatitis C. Now more than ever, as Canada continues to experience an overdose crisis that took nearly 4,000 lives in 2017, people who use drugs need barrier-free access to these services. Policing practices – such as arresting people near harm reduction programs – can be major barriers to SIS attendance and operation.
We recently completed a study focused on how to improve SIS-police relationships. For this research, we interviewed SIS managers, program coordinators and police liaisons in Europe, Australia, Quebec and British Columbia, reviewed international literature on harm reduction training for police, and conducted focus group consultations with Toronto-based SIS/harm reduction workers, people who inject drugs and police. Our multi-stakeholder team (including researchers, SIS managers, harm reduction workers and student trainees) used the information we gathered to identify factors that may help to improve relationships between SIS and local police. Here are our five recommendations:
By Rivka Kushner
Canada is one of 194 countries that endorsed the World Health Organization’s Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis in 2016, committing to – among other things – the elimination of viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030.
But what does eliminating viral hepatitis mean in practice? The recent Global Hepatitis Summit in Toronto from June 14 to 17, 2018, brought together researchers, healthcare providers, and public health practitioners from around the world to try to answer this question. Presenters shared the latest research findings, marked which countries are on track to meet the targets, and discussed what is needed in the rest of the world to get to elimination.
Par Yanick Paradis
Depuis plus de 10 ans que nous attendions ce moment : les sites d’injection supervisée (SIS) sont arrivés! Nous y voilà rendus! Ça fait bientôt un an que nous sommes ouverts. Mise en contexte : les SIS sont un projet régional qui est chapeauté par plusieurs structures. Quatre organismes communautaires, dont Dopamine, et le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal sont dans le coup et assurent les ressources humaines nécessaires pour mettre en place un tel service. Ceci dit, Dopamine est un organisme en réduction des méfaits qui travaille en prévention VIH, VHC et autres ITSS dans le quartier Hochelaga-Maisonneuve à Montréal depuis plus de 24 ans. Dopamine écoute, réfère et accompagne les gens au travers de leurs demandes. Les valeurs de l’organisme sont l’humanisme, la solidarité et la proximité. Le SIS offre une complémentarité à l’offre de service de soir, de 20 h à 1 h du matin, 7 jours sur 7.
By Annika Ollner
Every year on July 28, we mark World Hepatitis Day with an event to educate, gather together, and also remember those we have lost from the hepatitis C community. This year, we should have much to celebrate: in early 2017, medications that had previously been unavailable were finally added to some formularies, including Ontario’s. This means that people with certain types of hepatitis C who have been waiting years to access safe, effective medication will finally be able to start treatment and be cured. For many, being cured means avoiding potentially fatal outcomes like liver failure and liver cancer. It also means shedding the burden of carrying a highly stigmatized illness that is often met with ignorance, ostracism and discrimination.