Opioid Crisis Working Group
The Opioid Crisis Working Group includes representatives from The City of London, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Regional HIV AIDS Connection (RHAC), London InterCommunity Health Centre (LIHC), Addiction Services of Thames Valley, London Police Service, London CARes, Southwest LHIN, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), EMS, as well as an Indigenous community leader and a person with lived experience.
The work of the Opioid Crisis Working Group is currently focused on guiding the public consultation process related to Supervised Consumption Facilities in Middlesex-London.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), London Area Network of Substance Users and the London InterCommunity Health Centre (LIHC) launched The Naloxone Program in June of 2014. This collaborative effort is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The intention of this multi-agency partnership is to prevent opioid overdose and save lives. Learn more →
Outreach Team ("Street Nursing")
The Middlesex-London Health Unit's Outreach Team participates in locating, engaging, educating, and ultimately linking people to care, treatment and basic needs programs (i.e. housing, London InterCommunity Health Centre, Infectious Diseases Care Program, etc.). The end goal of the team is to help decrease the spread of disease and support clients through their continuum of care. The team creates an environment where clients feel supported enough to reach their treatment goals.
Needle Syringe Program
The Needle Syringe Program is a community collaboration that provides a variety of services to clients. These services include distribution of new injection and safer inhalation equipment, disposal of used equipment, naloxone and training to help prevent overdoses, education and information about safe injection or inhalation practices and referrals to support services and organizations in the community.
Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy
In late 2015, the Middlesex-London Health Unit began work to develop the Middlesex-London Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy (“the Strategy”). The Strategy builds on existing partnerships, and will incorporate diverse perspectives to build a sustainable approach to preventing, reducing and managing problematic substance use. The Strategy is guided by developed vision, mission and guiding principles and was based on British Columbia’s four pillars framework of Prevention, Treatment, Enforcement, and Harm Reduction. This is an important step which will require long-term commitment to address the complex and evolving issue of problematic substance use.
Safer Consumption Practices
With the increases in HIV, Hepatitis C and iGAS rates, messages were developed to educate and promote harm reduction practices for people who inject drugs (PWIDs), including the use of clean injection equipment at every use. Messaging was also created to educate PWIDs about some of the warning signs of conditions that require immediate medical assistance that can arise from injection drug use.
Each year in London, more than 3 million clean needles are distributed to people who inject drugs; of these, about 60% are recovered.
- Free and confidential needle exchange services are available at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), the Middlesex-London Health Unit and My Sister’s Place.
- Well-marked stationary needle disposal bins in several public areas collect discarded needles and syringes; they also assist with overall recovery of used injection drug equipment. See the list of stationary needle disposal bin locations and learn more about the safe handling and disposal of needles.
If needles are found on public property:
If needles are found on public property, please call 519-661-2489 ext. 4965. This phone line is answered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Public Drug Use
People tend to use drugs in public areas, because they don’t otherwise have a safe location to do so. Supervised Consumption Facilities provide people with a safe and clean place to use drugs. This can reduce the risk of overdose and the spread of diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV, and provides an opportunity to connect people who use drugs with treatment and support services in our community. In addition, in places where Supervised Consumption Facilities have been established, there has been a marked decrease in the number of used and discarded needles in the places they used to be found.