Programming Connection

keepSIX Supervised Consumption Service 

South Riverdale Community Health Centre


Why Was the Program Developed?

More than 9,000 people have died from accidental overdoses in Canada since January 2016 — 2,000 of them in the first half of 2018 alone, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. In their community, SRCHC have seen rising overdoses and overdose deaths in recent years. In a 2014 study, SRCHC found that one in 10 of their harm reduction clients had experienced an overdose in the past six months. In 2017, they distributed over 5,000 naloxone kits.

Canadian and international evidence shows that SCS save lives and improve health. Research also shows that SCS are cost effective and do not increase drug use and crime in the surrounding area.

SRCHC planned and gathered input on a potential SCS for many years. This included consultations with staff, board members, people who use drugs, potential service users and organizational partners. They also did extensive community consultations with local residents, businesses, schools and other community groups, with a majority seeing the benefit of an SCS. A community liaison committee with broad stakeholder representation was created to ensure ongoing communication and engagement with the local community. keepSIX also has a community advisory committee made up of keepSIX service users and other community members who use drugs.

In 2016, the Toronto City Council approved three agencies to add permanent SCS facilities to existing harm reduction services. SRCHC’s service opened on November 27, 2018, after the organization submitted a proposal and got permission from Health Canada to operate under exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.