Overdose Prevention Site (OPS)
Our Overdose Prevention Site provides a safe, hygienic environment for people to inject, snort, or swallow pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff. OPS’s are also called supervised consumption sites, supervised injection facilities, and drug consumption rooms. We provide sterile consumption supplies, harm reduction education, overdose prevention and intervention, and referrals to Street Health’s other healthcare and social services, as well as referrals to any external supports our clients want and need.
There are almost 200 Overdose Prevention sites currently operating in fourteen countries around the world (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the US). As of 2020, there were 39 sites operating across Canada.
The Street Health Overdose Prevention Site is located at:
338 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2A1
What are the benefits of Overdose Prevention Sites?
Canadian and international evidence show clearly that supervised consumption services like the Street Health OPS help to save lives, connect people to social services and serve as pathways to treatment. These sites and services:
- reduce the risk of accidental overdose, because people are not rushing or using alone
- connect people to social services like housing, employment assistance and food banks
- provide or connect people to healthcare and treatment
- reduce public drug use and discarded drug equipment
- reduce spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV
- reduce strain on emergency medical services, so they can focus on other emergencies
- provide space for people to connect with nonjudgmental staff and peers
Why here? Why now?
- Across Canada, 30,843 deaths between January 2016 and March 2022
- Steady increase in opioid-related harms in Ontario for more than a decade; 2,800 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2021, up from 556 in 2011
- Toronto also remains a hotbed of opioid poisoning. Preliminary data indicate that 560 people died of overdose in 2021, similar to 2020 numbers but 87% higher than in 2019 and 309% higher than in 2015, before fentanyl became widespread.
- The Downtown East of Toronto, where Street Health is located, is the epicenter of calls to 911 for overdose. In the year ending June 30, 2022, there were 1945 calls to 911 for suspected overdose that came from the Downtown East/Moss Park.
- The City of Toronto regularly updates this listof Supervised Consumption Sites (SCS) in the community.
- Toronto Homelessness Ressource List
- Find Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) here.
- If you’re looking for an overdose prevention hotline, call the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-NORS (1-888-688-6677).
- Visit the Government of Canada’s website’s page on Substance Use and the Overdose Crisis here.
- Learn about the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition here.
- Learn about best practices regarding the supplies we distribute here.
After months of negotiations and planning, Street Health’s OPS receives the federal and provincial approvals to begin operation.
Street Health opens an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) at 338 Dundas St. East. This service is offered in response to the increased level of overdoses and overdose deaths happening in the Sherbourne and Dundas area. This neighbourhood has the second highest number of calls to 911 for overdose in the entire city. Street Health provides overdose prevention services to connect with the people affected by the deadly street drug supply and ensure they have access to healthcare services.
Street Health’s OPS and the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society organize a “We Grieve Thousands” candlelight vigil through the Downtown East to remember the thousands of Canadians who died from an opioid overdose in 2017 and to demand government action to prevent further loss of life.
First Community Open House held at the OPS.
Community consultation moderated by local MPP Suze Morrison held to share strategies and opportunities with local community members, service agencies, police and healthcare providers.
Health Canada and the Ministry of Health approve the continuing operation of Street Health’s OPS.
A coordinated used drug needle pick up program begins in the local community.
Street Health’s OPS operation is threatened as the Ontario Government funding is abruptly eliminated.
April to current
OPS community supporters rally. Activities include: press conference at Toronto City Hall, demonstrations at Queen’s Park, many fundraising efforts. Donors include: Toronto Overdose Prevention Society, private family foundations, several CUPE locals, church and community groups, hundreds of individuals.
Substance Use and Addictions, Health Canada provide one-time funding which supports the evaluation of OPS services.
Read Toronto Star article: Safe Supply programs can reduce opioid deaths.
A dedicated Crisis Outreach Worker is hired at Street Heath to support those who are not among our regular clients.
Street Health’s OPS Community Advisory Committee begin regular meetings.
Street Health and St. Stephen’s hold a press conference to release Overdose Prevention Sites Evaluation. Read Toronto Star coverage
Health Canada approves Street Health’s exemption and Street Health announces that community donations will support the OPS Continued operation – both to March 31, 2021.
Life threatening spikes in overdoses reported in several Ontario communities including Toronto.
March to current
Street Health’s OPS continues to provide support during COVID 19.
Toronto Paramedic Services attends the highest number of suspected opioid overdose-related deaths in a single month since September 2017. There were 343 suspected opioid overdose calls to paramedics, including 25 deaths.
Staff mark the National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis in continuing efforts to create awareness on this issue.
Twenty/Twenty Arts launches the Weathered digital photo exhibit which remembers friends and loved ones who have died from overdose. This project is also a fundraiser for Street Health’s OPS raising over $10,000.
It is shocking and disturbing to review this analysis of the impact of COVID on the opioid overdose crisis. This IS a national epidemic.
Street Health’s OPS operates thanks to private funding. This includes the congregation at Fairlawn Avenue United Church and their Embrace Action Group. Kelly White, OPS Coordinator was pleased to be part of a panel updating church members on the changes and challenges with COVID.