Supervised Consumption and COVID-19 in Ontario: an Evaluation (SCCONE) 

In Progress

This study will examine the best models for supervised consumption sites (SCS), how these sites can be sustained over time, the public health effects of supervised consumption sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of scaling up or scaling down consumption services in Ontario, and how to address barriers to using sites for specific groups – including people who are racialized and Indigenous, women, members of LGBTQI2S communities, and people who use stimulants.

This study will ask the following questions:

  • What are the best models for supervised consumption sites?
  • How can supervised consumption sites sustained over time?
  • What are the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of supervised consumption sites?
  • What would be the impact of scaling up or scaling down consumption services in Ontario?
  • How supervised consumption sites can address barriers to using sites for specific groups, including: people who are racialized, people who are Indigenous, women, members of LGBTQI2S communities, and people who use stimulants.

Methods

We will conduct a multi-method study that draws on our expertise and extensive partnerships with communities of people who use drugs, health care providers, and policy-level decision makers. Our study will have direct relevance for public health and health policy and will help to provide evidence for evaluating SCSs and will help all stakeholders address which SCS models are the best in which contexts and at which times, how SCSs can be sustained and how they can continue to evolve to integrate additional services and reach populations, how SCSs can continue to adapt to address ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCSs can be optimally integrated into a harm reduction response in the context of an ongoing opioid overdose crisis, and will provide a much-needed evidence base for decisions regarding scale-up or scale-down of SCSs.  

Why this is important

The opioid overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are 2 major public health problems in Canada. People who use drugs are at high risk for harms during the pandemic due to changes in the drug supply, uncertain economic instability, and increased isolation. Supervised injection services may help to address these risks. Currently, there are 19 supervised injection sites in Ontario. Less than 1 in 10 opioid-related overdose deaths in Ontario occurred in a region in which there was a supervised injection site. Our study will examine the best models for supervised injection sites, how these sites can be sustained over time, how to address barriers to using sites for specific groups, including people who are racialized and Indigenous, women, members of LGBTQI2S communities, and people who use stimulants, the public health effects of supervised injection sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of scaling up or scaling down supervised injection services in Ontario.

Impact

Our study will have direct relevance for public health and health policy and will help all stakeholders address which SCS models are the best in which contexts and at which times, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Ahmed M. Bayoumi

A general internist and HIV physician, Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi is dedicated to improving health care and quality of life for people who use drugs and people living with HIV.

Investigators

  • Jason Altenberg (South Riverdale Community Health Centre)
  • Farihah Ali (Ontario CRISM Node Team)
  • Claire Bodkin (McMaster University)
  • Lisa Boucher (Bruyere Research Institute)
  • Rob Boyd (Sandyhill Community Health Centre)
  • Alex Caudarella
  • Timothy Chan (University of Toronto)
  • Lauren Cipriano (University of Western Ontario)
  • Tara Elton-Marshall (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
  • Eva Enns (University of Minnesota)
  • Ahmed Hassan (University of Toronto)
  • Ghazal Haddad (University of Toronto)
  • Elaine Hyshka (University of Alberta)
  • Shaun Hopkins (Toronto Public Health)
  • Sameer Imtiaz (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
  • Claire Kendall (Bruyere Research Institute)
  • Mary Clare Kennedy (University of British Columbia)
  • Kathleen Kenny (University of Manitoba)
  • Thomas Kerr (University of British Columbia)
  • Soha Khorsand (University of Ottawa)
  • Gillian Kolla (University of Victoria)
  • Fiona Kouyoumdjian
  • Pamela Leece (Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion)
  • Tessa Lesschaeve (Dilico Anishinabek Family Care)
  • Natasha Martin (University of California)
  • Jurgen Rehm (University of Toronto)
  • Angela Robertson (Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre)
  • Hailey Saunders
  • Abigail Sprakes (Lakehead University)
  • Carol Strike (University of Toronto)
  • Rachel Stephenson (University of Toronto)
  • Sze Suen (University of Southern California)
  • Samantha Young (University of Toronto)

Staff

  • Uzma Ahmed (Research Coordinator)
  • Elizabeth McCarron (Data Analyst)

Funders

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Collaborators

  • South Riverdale Community Health Centre
  • Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
  • Norwest Community Health Centre
  • Toronto Public Health

Contact Info

Uzma Ahmed

Research Coordinator