Programming Connection

keepSIX Supervised Consumption Service 

South Riverdale Community Health Centre

2019

How Does the Program Work?

keepSIX occupies a space on the first floor of the SRCHC, adjacent to the long-standing harm-reduction drop-in office. The service is open on weekdays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, with extended evening hours until 8pm on three days. The SCS consists of an intake area, a consumption room and a post-consumption observation (or “chill”) room. The space was designed to reduce stress by being welcoming and inclusive. A large mural on the wall of the post-consumption space was designed and created with service user input and incorporates LGBTQ2SIA and Indigenous imagery.

The keepSIX safe consumption room.

When they arrive, service users undergo a brief intake assessment process. First-time service users are asked to register and are given an orientation to the service. Service users can access the service anonymously or can use a confidential unique identifier code.

After intake, service users enter the supervised consumption room. The consumption room has three standard booths and one large booth (to accommodate a mobility device and/or more than one person), each with a chair, table, disposal bins and sharps containers. Staff are on hand to provide harm reduction supplies and education, training on safer injection techniques and strategies and more. In the event of an overdose, staff respond using oxygen and stimulation, or naloxone if needed.

After using, service users are encouraged to stay in the post-consumption or “chill” room. This provides a safe, comfortable space where individuals can stay after using and also an opportunity for SCS staff to continue to provide a variety of services and supports. These include:

  • substance use and mental health support; informal counselling
  • education and health promotion (on a variety of topics, including hygiene and nutrition)
  • primary care including wound and foot care
  • referrals and access to other programs and services (i.e., social workers, housing workers, hepatitis C treatment, opioid substitution services, detox and drug treatment)
  • Indigenous cultural practices and supports

A large mural on the wall of the post-consumption space was designed with service users and incorporates LGBTQ2SIA and Indigenous imagery.

keepSIX is part of a multi-service, multidisciplinary community health centre. This means that many referrals can be made onsite, and in many cases, an individual can be seen immediately by a service provider. Service users have direct access to all of SRCHC’s onsite programs and services (e.g., healthcare, chiropody, seniors programs, midwifery) and established pathways to external services (e.g., treatment, hospitals, legal services, housing).

keepSIX is an extension of the COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program, which for the last 20 years has offered:

  • harm reduction supplies
  • group programs (including women’s drop-ins and group programs like art making and cooking)
  • mobile services
  • satellite distribution locations in the community
  • community clean-up and needle patrol
  • education and workshops
  • memorial services

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