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About Consumption and Treatment Services

Supervised Consumption Sites (SCS) are health services that provide a safe, clean space for people to consume pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of health professionals. Staff are present at all times to respond to medical emergencies. Individuals are also provided with sterile injection supplies, education on safer consumption practices, basic medical services, and referrals to drug treatment, housing, and other social services.

Consumption and Treatment Services

Provincially, supervised consumption services are called Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS). As with SCS, Consumption and Treatment Services sites provide a safe, clean space for a person to use pre-obtained substances under the supervision of a health care professional and to engage in treatment, health care and social services.

How do these services work?

Supervised consumption sites do not provide drugs. Clients come to the program with their own supply of drugs. An intake worker greets each person and completes an assessment to confirm they are eligible to use the service and that they understand how it works.

The client is given sterile injection equipment and instruction on safer injection practices. In a neighbouring room, a nurse supervises their injection and responds in the case of any medical emergencies.

Once the individual has finished their injection they are directed to a waiting area for ongoing observation and to receive information and referrals about other health and social services.

What are the benefits of these services?

Canadian and International research shows that supervised injections services provide many benefits both for individuals using the services and for the community, including:

  • Reduced drug overdoses, poisonings, and deaths
  • Reduced risk factors leading to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis
  • Increased use of detox and drug treatment services
  • Connection and referral to other health and social services
  • Reduced public drug use and less publicly discarded needles
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • No impact on crime or increased drug use in the local community

For more information about the evidence and benefits of SCS, visit our CTS Facts page.

Are these services legal?

Yes. In Canada, legal operation of a supervised consumption site requires an exemption under Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). Exemptions are granted by the federal Minister of Health.

Will this service increase crime in our neighbourhood?

Supervised consumption sites do not increase crime in the surrounding area. They are located in areas where drug use is already having an impact on the community.

Won’t these services just encourage more drug use?

People do not start injecting drugs because of supervised consumption services. There is no evidence that harm reduction services of any kind promote drug use. Supervised consumption services are used mainly by people with a long history of injection drug use. Research has also found that supervised consumption services do not cause people to relapse (e.g., start using drugs after a period of not using) or prevent people from stopping drug use altogether.

Why don’t we just add more treatment services?

Harm reduction programs like consumption and treatment services are important parts of a comprehensive strategy to improve community outcomes related to substance use. Harm reduction services aim to link people who use drugs to services and supports to improve their health. Treatment services are needed for people who want to reduce or stop using drugs. A range of supports are needed because people may fall in and out of treatment and recovery or may not be ready to stop using drugs.

Health Canada and the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recognize the need for both harm reduction and treatment. Funding for treatment services are supported through different health services and provincial branches. Locally, harm reduction service providers and treatment service providers work together through the Peterborough Drug Strategy to ensure our approaches are coordinated and resources are used efficiently and effectively.

Do we need this service in Peterborough?

There is an urgent need in Peterborough to rapidly mobilize and expand on existing harm reduction services to address the growing opioid crisis. Recent statistics show that Peterborough is one of the top-ranking communities in Ontario for highest per capita rate of opioid-related deaths, and has seen drastic increases in calls for emergency services and emergency room visits.

What else is being done to address drug issues in Peterborough?

Many organizations across the City and County of Peterborough deliver a broad range of services to reduce the harms of drug use. These services include prevention programs, harm reduction services, and treatment programs.

Since 2009, our community has supported a comprehensive four pillar approach to drug and substance misuse through the Peterborough Drug Strategy. This includes:

  • Prevention– e.g. Addressing root causes of drug use, supporting parents and youth with information about the dangers of substance use.
  • Harm Reduction– e.g. Increasing needle recovery and disposal options.
  • Treatment – e.g. Rapid Access Addiction Medical Clinics.
  • Enforcement– e.g. Enforcement focus on drug trafficking; Good Samaritan Drug