Sector News

  1. Good News for Good Samaritans!

    The Good Samaritan Overdose Act is now law in Canada.

    This will help to save lives.  To learn more, see News Release from Health Canada.

  2. Posted in:

    2014 OHRDP Environmental Scan

    OHRDP conducted their second environmental scan to examine the 36 core Needle Syringe Programs (NSPs) capacity to implement harm reduction programming, identify successes and challenges, and provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange between core NSPs and OHRDP.

    For a summary of the results of this environmental scan, email:

  3. Harm Reduction Tips and Resources for People Using MDMA

    On June 21st, a 24-year old passed away from an MDMA-related overdose at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas (link). From June 29th – July 1st, there were two incident involving young adults who used a bad batch of MDMA at rave events held in Ottawa (link). It’s a tragedy to lose these young people.
    This reminds us that more harm reduction work is needed around the use of MDMA. Some key messages to share include:
    Before you use

    • Always use with buddy (who won’t be tripping)
    • Know your dealer
    • Go slow because you can never be sure of what’s in your drugs
    • Use in a safe place
    • Plan what you’ll do in an emergency situation

    In an over-amped / overdose situation

    • Move the person to a quiet and calm location
    • Have the person drink some water
    • If the person is unresponsive, or if at any point you feel uncomfortable with the situation, call 9-1-1. An overdose situation is a medical emergency that needs to be treated by medical professionals.
    To learn more about MDMA and harm reduction tips, you may want to check out the following links: DanseSafe, TRIP Project Toronto, and BC’s Ecstasy Alert.

  4. ***ALERT*** Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) Warns About Recent Potential Opioid Overdose Clusters

    CCSA has reported at least two clusters of overdoses that may be linked to fentanyl.

    There was a news report today (June 5, 2014) about another suspected cluster in Gatineau

    June 5, 2014 – Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal

    June 4, 2014 – BC Coroners Service warns of deaths related to illicit fentanyl use

    In light of these advisories it is worth sharing the following information:

    CCSA has a few tips when advising substance using populations about the dangers of illicit fentanyl:

    Avoid terms that might, indirectly, attract users, such as “potent,” “strong” or “more powerful.” Such terms could inadvertently result in an increase in people seeking the drug. Alternatives are “more toxic,” “lethal,” “deadly” and “more concentrated” — terms that imply harm.

    Include specific calls to action: calling 911, if an overdose is suspected; if using, not using alone, and using slowly.

    Consider mentioning some of the signs and symptoms of an overdose, so people know what to look out for. Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program has a poster designed to clearly communicate these Signs & Symptoms

    CCENDU Alerts

    Illicit Fentanyl     Counterfeit Oxycodone Tablets Containing Fentanyl     CCSA-CCENDU

  5. Celebrating the 1st Annual International Harm Reduction Day

    Today, May 7 2014, marks the 1st Annual International Harm Reduction Day and OHRDP is excited to be celebrating this day with you. We want to thank everyone working in a harm reduction capacity for everything they do to keep individuals and communities as safe as possible from the effects associated with drug use. To summarize our feelings about harm reduction we want to share a quote from Amy Katz at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health that describes the work we do in harm reduction so well…

    “There is something, in my opinion, very beautiful about harm reduction. It’s an approach that looks at reality in all its complexity and says: okay. I see that life is not simple. I see you are doing things people who love you wish you wouldn’t. I see that you are an irreplaceable and precious human being. Let’s use evidence to figure out the best way to keep you, the people around you, and your community as safe as we possibly can.”

    Keep up the good work everyone.

  6. US Cities with Needle Syringe Programs Have Fewer Publically Discarded Needles than Cities without NSPs.

    Opponents of NSPs often claim that the injection supplies provided by NSPs will be discarded unsafely in public spaces. This US based study wanted to see if this was in fact true. The study compared San Francisco, where distribution sites are legal, and Miami, where distribution sites are illegal. Findings strongly suggest the opposite is true.

    The study showed:
    • San Francisco had 11 publically discarded needles during the study period, while Miami had 328
    • 11% of San Francisco interviewees reported having discarded syringes in public space in previous 30 days, compared to 69% in Miami
    • 65% of San Francisco interviewees reported having discarded syringes unsafely in previous 30 days, compared to 95% in Miami
    • The primary safe method of disposal were discarding needle/syringes at Needle Syringe Site (62% of interviewees from San Francisco, 0% from Miami)
    • In San Francisco 8,474 out of 64,259 syringes (13%) were reportedly disposed of unsafely, of which 718 (1%) were discarded in a public space. In Miami, 9845 out of 10,379 (95%) of syringes were reportedly disposed of unsafely, of which 4689 (45%) were discarded in a public space
    • Injection drug users in Miami were 34 times more likely to discard syringes in public spaces than those in San Francisco.
    Conclusion: Needle Syringe Distribution programs are a significant means of collecting used supplies and do not increase the amount of publically disposed syringes.

    For more information – click here

  7. OHRDP will be distributing safer smoking supplies!

    This summer, OHRDP will begin distributing safer smoking supplies to Ontario’s Needle Syringe Programs. This is an exciting and important program which will help keep people who smoke crack cocaine safe from injury and disease. For more information about OHRDP’s safer smoking supplies, check out our product webpage

  8. What Does the International Narcotics Control Board Have to Say?

    The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board released a report about drug use/misuse around the world this March. A few highlights include: every dollar spent in prevention can save governments 10 dollars in the future, not all countries are putting enough resources in prevention and treatment efforts, prescription medication misuse is outpacing illegal drug use, and ‘legal highs’ are becoming an emerging issue around the world.


  9. What is Harm Reduction?

    Dr. Bernie Pauly was featured in a Matters of Substance blog post hosted by the Centre of Addiction Research of BC. She describes harm reduction in a compelling manner in this plain language summary.

    Read Summary

  10. World AIDS Day – Dec 1st

    Why we need to talk about harm reduction on World AIDS Day.

    Editorial from OHRDP