Additional Harm Reduction Services in Two Sites in Nova Scotia

Initiative Summary

The purpose of this one-year study is to explore what people who use substances (PWUS) and key local stakeholders think about additional harm reduction services in their communities of Halifax and Sydney. We sought to answer questions regarding the advantages or benefits of having additional harm reduction services in the community; where to place additional harm reduction services in the community; and whether there is community support for harm reduction services.

Initiative Objectives and Goals

We set out to gain some understanding of what PWUS think about implementing additional harm reduction services in their communities as well as gain some understanding of what local key informants think about implementing additional harm reduction services in their communities.

The Role of this Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic

Harm reduction strategies and programs are well-evidenced to reduce behaviours that increase the risk of HIV infection and transmission.

Meaningful Engagement with People with Lived Experience

Individuals with lived experience worked as Peer Researchers on the study including in data collection and knowledge transfer exchange activities.

Key performance indicators

Primary target audience

People who use substances (PWUS)

Secondary target audience

Key local stakeholders (i.e. NGOs, community leaders, healthcare providers)

Start Date
August 1, 2017
-
August 2019
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Strategic marketing and support tactics

Website, social networks and email campaign.

RESULTS

160 people who use substances completed questionnaires (in full or in part) in the fall of 2017; 11 local key informants completed one-on-­one interviews in the spring of 2018. Many PWUS and some key informants agreed that safer consumption sites should be connected to existing services and/or provided through mobile units. Many PWUS agreed that peer­-staffed detoxification programs should be in the same place as the local needle exchange and close to business and residential areas. Many PWUS and some key informants felt that additional needle distribution and disposal should be provided in healthcare settings, food banks, gas stations, parks, bus terminals, police stations, and through mobile units. No-cost naloxone programs were perceived to have the highest level of community support by PWUS. Safer consumption sites had the lowest level of perceived community support by PWUS. PWUS perceived doctors, nurses, and people who work in places like food banks, shelters etc. as being the most supportive. PWUS felt that politicians and businesses would be the least supportive. Overall, there is a need for safer consumption sites across the study area. There is a need for peer-staffed detoxification programs. There is a need for peer-led navigation programs. There is a need for additional needle distribution and disposal sites. There is a need for no-cost Naloxone distribution across the study area.

Results

160 people who use substances (PWUS) completed questionnaires (in full or in part) in the fall of 2017; 11 local key informants completed one-on-­one interviews in the spring of 2018.

Many PWUS and some key informants agreed that safer consumption sites should be connected to existing services and/or provided through mobile units. Many PWUS agreed that peer­-staffed detoxification programs should be in the same place as the local needle exchange and close to business and residential areas. Many PWUS and some key informants felt that additional needle distribution and disposal should be provided in healthcare settings, food banks, gas stations, parks, bus terminals, police stations, and through mobile units. No-cost naloxone programs were perceived to have the highest level of community support by PWUS. Safer consumption sites had the lowest level of perceived community support by PWUS. PWUS perceived doctors, nurses, and people who work in places like food banks, shelters etc. as being the most supportive. PWUS felt that politicians and businesses would be the least supportive.

Overall, there is a need for safer consumption sites across the study area. There is a need for peer-staffed detoxification programs. There is a need for peer-led navigation programs. There is a need for additional needle distribution and disposal sites. There is a need for no-cost Naloxone distribution across the study area.

Insights

Challenges

"But I also learn from the women after hearing their stories. I put them into practice. ‘Cause they teach me. I teach them. They learn from me." —Valérie, a BSC Collaborative member