Programming Connection

Harm Reduction Satellite Sites Program 

Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
Toronto, ON

Lessons Learned

  • Ongoing support of SSWs (e.g., trainings on how to assert limits with clients, how to interact with clients and how to respond to eviction attempts and maintain tenancy) is crucial to ensure that people’s sense of urgency and their informal support networks are not being exploited. It is critical for SSWs’ safety that they be supported in asserting boundaries and de-escalating conflict and that they be supported as they grieve the loss of people to the overdose crisis (e.g., through weekly individual check-ins).
  • Recognition that there is a need for ongoing consultation with the broader community of people who use drugs is crucial to ensuring that the satellite sites are in appropriate locations where they will have the greatest impact. The community advisory group of people who use drugs and other stakeholders (e.g., members of communities disproportionately affected by criminalization, HIV, hepatitis C and overdose) help to ensure that the program is reaching the communities most affected by the criminalization of drug use and related health issues.