LOCATION: 446 York Street London, Ontario 519.434.1601
HOURS: Open 7 days a week, including statutory holidays from 9:30AM to 9:00PM (*last intake is at 8:00PM).
The site is intended to:
prevent overdose deaths,
reduce the spread of infectious disease,
reduce unsafe consumption practices, and
increase access to health and social services.
What services and supports are offered?
The site offers a low-barrier, hygienic, stigma-free environment for people to use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of harm reduction workers and medical staff. Individuals are provided with a range of sterile harm reduction supplies, education on safer consumption practices, overdose prevention and intervention (i.e. use of oxygen and naloxone), and medical and counselling services. “Wrap-around” supports such as referrals to drug treatment, mental health services, housing, primary care, indigenous support, income support and other services are also offered at the site.
Evaluation of London's Temporary Overdose Prevention Site
Individuals can enter the waiting room directly through the north entrance of 186 King Street. While a person can access the site through the south entrance to Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), they are strongly encouraged to use the north entrance as a direct customer service experience. However, if they do access through the south entrance, the receptionist lets the staff know there has been a request for customer service. A staff member greets the individual and goes with them to the waiting room.
In the intake space, staff gather information from individuals before they can access the overdose prevention site (e.g. release forms, rights and responsibilities, drug consumption information, health considerations, etc.). A code of conduct is reviewed with each individual and also posted in the waiting room, intake space and injection room.
In the injection room, people are greeted by a harm reduction worker and asked to provide a code unique to each individual. This code provides an anonymous way to track individual visits and log substances used at each visit. Individuals are also greeted by medical staff who are able to provide support in the injection room, if needed.
There are two tables with four spaces for people to sit and use their pre-obtained drugs with the supervision of both harm reduction workers and medical staff. Sterile harm reduction equipment and supplies are available in the injection room to help people use safely, including syringes, alcohol swabs, sterile water, sterile filters, a tie and a cooker. Lighters are also available for individuals to heat their drugs before injecting them. Vitamin C is also available for dissolving certain drugs. All supplies are provided in sterile packaging, with the exception of ties (i.e. tourniquets). All items are one-time use and are discarded afterwards into disposal bins located at each table.
The nursing station is staffed by one medical professional (e.g. nurse or paramedic). The nursing station includes supplies for first aid and wound care assessment. Oxygen tanks and Naloxone (Narcan) are available to respond to any potential overdoses. Both injectable and nasal Naloxone are available.
There is a zero tolerance policy for any dealing or sharing of drugs between clients at the site. To help with flow, individuals are asked to limit time in the injection room to 20 minutes although this is flexible based on individuals needs (e.g. if someone is having difficulty finding a vein).
In the aftercare room, individuals are greeted by staff from one or more of the community organizations providing services at the TOPS including:
Addiction Services of Thames Valley (ADSTV)
Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex (CMHA – Middlesex)
London InterCommunity Health Centre (LIHC)
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC)
Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC)
The aftercare room provides an opportunity for individuals to continue to be observed for any complications including potential signs of overdose. Individuals also have the opportunity to connect with various health and social services, including: drug treatment, mental health services, housing, primary care, indigenous support, and income support. When individuals are ready to leave the aftercare room, they exit through the waiting room and out the north door.
The Counterpoint Needle and Syringe Program has been operating at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection for over 25 years. People can access various harm reduction supplies such as needles, syringes, cookers, ties, vitamin C, sharps containers of various sizes, alcohol swabs, sterile water, safe inhalation kits, filters, snorting kits, hot railing kits, and naloxone kits. People can choose to use the Counterpoint Needle Syringe Program before or after they have used the injection room.