Programming Connection

keepSIX Supervised Consumption Service 

South Riverdale Community Health Centre

2019

Required Resources

The keepSIX SCS is a permanent facility housed on the street level at the SRCHC. The space was renovated for the service; this work included the installation of a specialized ventilation system to absorb any fumes generated when service users prepare drugs for injection in the consumption room. It is staffed by health promoters, registered nurses and harm reduction workers, as follows:

  • Health promoters: (two full-time staff)
    Health promoters have a variety of experiential or educational backgrounds. Their role is to address service gaps and needs via programs and groups (e.g., prisoner support, Indigenous sharing circles), ensure that keepSIX’s services are responding to the needs of its clients and coordinate outreach/community engagement activities (e.g. shelter in-reach).
  • Registered nurses: (two full-time staff)
    Nurses provide all clinical services (e.g., first aid, wound care). They administer primary care and proactive/preventive interventions (e.g., hepatitis C testing, screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, flu shots) and oversee biohazard management.
  • Harm reduction workers: (two full-time equivalents)
    Harm reduction workers have lived experience of drug use. They provide client care and identify barriers and gaps in services. They share expertise (including consumption techniques) and overdose prevention strategies, provide treatment and drug information.

With the exception of clinical care, most of the responsibilities of these positions are shared, including intake/assessments, harm reduction education, counselling and referrals to other internal or external services. All keepSIX staff are responsible for ensuring appropriate client flow within the service, for safe disposal of substances and injection equipment and for responding to overdoses or other crises.

Opening the service was a complex and lengthy process that involved working with the local community and the local, provincial and federal governments. To operate an SCS in Canada, you must apply for an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. There are also requirements at the provincial or territorial level, which vary.

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