Tag: Harm reduction

Six ways to make harm reduction work in Canada’s prisons

In Canada today, prisoners who inject drugs need to share needles, many of which have been used numerous times by other prisoners. Without access to sterile injection equipment, rates of HIV and hepatitis C virus are much higher behind bars than in the broader community. Prison-based needle and syringe programs (PNSPs) are an important way to address this public health problem, yet Canadian correctional authorities often claim they won’t work. A recent study demonstrates that PNSPs are indisputably feasible in Canada and should be implemented now.

Read more

Supervised injection in Toronto will improve the health of people who inject drugs

Over the past year, advocates or elected officials in Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, Baltimore, New York City, Ithaca (NY), Seattle, San Francisco, Glasgow and four cities in Ireland have called for the implementation of supervised injection services. More recently, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown recommended that the Board of Health start a community consultation process toward establishing supervised injection services within three existing facilities in the city. The Board voted unanimously in favour. As the lead investigators of the TOSCA study (the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment), we support Dr. McKeown’s proposal and look forward to the opening of these services in Toronto.

Read more

Health Canada’s statement on the status of naloxone is a welcome drug policy paradigm shift

The administration of naloxone, a chemical compound that effectively temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is recommended by the World Health Organization to be used in the case of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is currently available in Canada only in an injectable form and by prescription only; it can only be administered to the person named on the prescription, not to a third party.

Read more

Canada’s anti-harm reduction guardians close door on hepatitis strategy

By Laurie Edmiston and Melisa Dickie We just returned from the first World Hepatitis Summit hosted by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Scottish government. The Scottish government was a partner because Scotland has exercised leadership in the fight against hepatitis C and, unlike Canada, has a national strategy to combat hepatitis C.* The focus of the World Hepatitis Summit was viral hepatitis, specifically hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B has a vaccine; giving it to newborns or school-age children in Canada is standard practice. However, this is not the case...

Read more

What Canada can learn from Australia’s HIV response

By Laurie Edmiston While at AIDS 2014, CATIE’s Ed Jackson and I met with a number of Australian agencies to pursue a plan to share best practices around gay men’s sexual health programming. I was already familiar with some of Australia’s powerful awareness, prevention and testing campaigns, but a closer look at the Aussie HIV response has been eye-opening and provides many useful learnings for Canada.

Read more