The Safer Opioid Supply Program at South Riverdale Community Health Centre aims to address the overdose crisis by transitioning people away from toxic and contaminated street opioids to pharmaceutical grade opioids. The program offers a flexible, community-based safer supply model that focuses on reducing death and other harms related to use of toxic illegal drugs. SOS has a participant-led and participant-centred model of care that is harm reduction focused, low barrier and has a non-punitive approach. The program provides access to stabilizing comprehensive care, including harm reduction, primary care, and other health and social services including trauma specific supports for people who have previously faced barriers to these services. The program recognizes that drug-related harms stem from several different sources, including criminalization. It aims to reduce some of the harms associated with drug use by providing a safer drug supply. Clinicians will respect people’s autonomy and choices around drug use and accessing healthcare. The program is meant to be as accessible as possible. The interdisciplinary teams strive to meet participant needs and ensure access to care through flexibility, problem solving and collaboration.
During our last reporting period, we asked 36 of our program participants if they had overdosed within the last month. 25 individuals stated they had not overdosed, 8 individuals stated they had overdosed and 3 were not sure if they had overdosed. All 36 participants had previously reported overdosing on a regular basis prior to entering the SOS program. Safer supply saves lives and prevents overdoses.