St. Stephen's Community House

Tyler Watts

Tyler WattsTyler Watts

Nothing about us without us

Opioid-related overdose deaths are surging in Toronto and Kensington Market is a hot spot. To help prevent overdoses, the Ontario Ministry of Health approved Overdose Prevension Sites (OPS) across Ontario. An OPS provides a safe environment where people can use substances under the supervision of trained staff.

These sites follow the principles of harm reduction to reduce the risk of disease and death for people who use substances, and make communities safer by providing an alternative to using on the streets and in public washrooms. The newest OPS is in our Augusta Centre. Tyler Watts, Coordinator of our OPS, shares a little of what the opening week was like:

“We’ve had some folks come in, some more than once. We’re building really good, trusting relationships with the people who come in, having conversations about harm reduction techniques and safer use.

Creating a welcoming environment and getting the word out that we’re here is just as important as answering questions from the community. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from service agencies and the people who come in, telling us that a space like this was needed in the neighbourhood. They’ve told us that staff are welcoming and knowledgeable, and the space is calm and inviting. They’ll be letting their friends and community know.”

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