Report of the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment Study

April 2012

Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are places where peopleĀ can inject drugs under supervision. Two SIFs exist in Canada,Ā both in Vancouver. Other cities are considering SIFs.

Do Toronto and Ottawa need SIFs? Is implementing SIFs inĀ these cities feasible? We analyzed evidence from a varietyĀ of sources, and developed a mathematical model to predictĀ whether the health beneļ¬ts of SIFs would balance theĀ ļ¬nancial costs.

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Findings

Toronto and Ottawa would beneļ¬t from multiple SIFs.Ā We projected that introducing three SIFs in Toronto and two inĀ Ottawa would:

  • Reduce new hepatitis C and HIV infections.
  • Reduce public drug use, since users who inject drugsĀ outside were particularly interested in SIFs.
  • Represent good investments of health care dollars.

Public opinion about SIFs has changed in recent years;Ā many more residents now support SIFs.

  • About half of residents felt strongly that SIFs should beĀ implemented, if they work well to prevent infectiousĀ disease and reduce neighbourhood problems.
  • An additional third had mixed opinions, but said theyĀ would feel better about SIFs if they had moreĀ information about them.
  • Few residents are completely against SIFs.

Although many people who inject drugs also smoke drugs,Ā there is not enough evidence to recommend a supervisedĀ smoking facility.

Implications for health policy and practice

Our report provides an evidence base for discussions aboutĀ introducing SIFs to Toronto and Ottawa.