Programming Connection

keepSIX Supervised Consumption Service 

South Riverdale Community Health Centre

2019

Lessons Learned

  • Feedback from service users should be proactively incorporated
    This helps to address gaps or unanticipated needs for service delivery (i.e., foot care, grief support). Intake assessments and real-time interaction have afforded staff greater opportunities to understand the local drug supply and shifts and trends in supply and use, and to adapt services to respond to client needs. Flexibility, adaptability, humility and responsiveness to people who use drugs and changes in drug trends need to be intrinsic to an SCS.
  • People with lived experience should be meaningfully engaged
    This includes experience of drug use, criminalization, overdose, poverty, homelessness, among other issues. This is integral to building trust among service users, doing outreach in drug-using networks and promoting services through other programs and agencies.
  • Community partnerships should be built
    While community consultation can be onerous, partnerships with key community partners are very beneficial. This has allowed keepSIX to establish allies throughout the community who have high levels of knowledge about SCS. This also allows them to responsively address and alleviate concerns in the community and leverage relationships that benefit the service and service users.
  • Grief and loss need to inform service delivery
    The overdose crisis has had a significant impact on the community. keepSIX offers sharing circles and is increasing its capacity to provide grief and loss support. SRCHC leadership also offers staff services and supports to deal with trauma specific to their work and increase resiliency.
  • There is a need for culturally appropriate harm reduction services
    A large proportion of keepSIX service users are from racialized communities, in particular from Indigenous communities. It is important to have staff who reflect the diversity of service users to provide safety and offer culturally specific understanding and support.

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