Close

BEYOND ENDURING

The Transformative and unexpected Impact of an Overdose Prevention Site On The Lives Of The Site Users

ENDURING

Enduring represents the
sorrows, traumas, despair, and hopelessness
experienced by our participants prior to accessing the site and to some extent,
their experiences that continue outside the site.

Participants spoke to
enduring traumas, and
enduring in the face of trauma

Enduring represented the experiences of participants prior to accessing support through the site and to some
extent, their experiences that continue when not at the site. It reflected the sorrows, traumas, despair, and
hopelessness experienced during substance use.

While participants highlighted that they survived the multiple challenges associated with substance use prior to the opening of the site, doing so was difficult and accompanied by significant isolation, oppression, and ultimately, risk of dying. Before coming to the site, the only relationships many participants had were precarious relationships with other peers.

Many had experienced overdoses or had witnessed friends die due to overdose or other health complications linked to substance use.
Some participants found it too difficult to talk about what they had endured. For those who did talk, they
illustrated how they had stopped caring for themselves or others due to a lack of hope for the future.

ACCESSING SAFETY

Participants described how they accessed the site for
physical safety

As participants reached out for clean gear and supervised use, they found a space free from stigmatization and discrimination. They discovered acceptance and described
feeling safe

Participants also shared how safer substance use extended
beyond the site.

Accessing Safety was the next step in participants’ journeys. Participants accessed the site for physical safety to reduce risks of infectious diseases and overdose. However, as participants reached out
for clean gear and supervised use, they encountered a deeper sense of safety as they discovered a space free from stigmatization and discrimination.

They described feeling safe and discovering acceptance in the site, a feeling they did not necessarily experience when they were out in the community

CONNECTING & BELONGING

The social connections that participants developed at the site
made them feel connected and experience a sense of belonging.

Relationships with staff

provided a sense of community at the site
and appeared to fill a void in participants’ lives.

Caring relationships with staff supported participants to develop more
meaningful

relationships with peers and

connection to external services.

Connecting and Belonging were central to the experiences shared by participants at
the site. The relationships participants developed with staff helped provide a sense of
community at the site and a place where they belonged. This sense of connection
appeared to fill a void in their lives.

Through these relationships with staff at the site, site users also found more connection and belonging with their peers. They also were connected to external services that they didn’t know existed or had previously been fearful of accessing.

TRANSFORMING

Participants shared a range of unique changes in their
day-to-day lives which they attributed to coming to the site.

Self-identified changes included
healthier substance use practices and improved well-being.
Participants also found

hope, new directions and community.

The experiences of feeling safe and the relationships that developed were the foundations that

made transformative
change possible
.

Transforming Participants shared unique changes in their day-to-day lives which they
attributed to the site. Responses reflected a range of changes, some that moved
beyond the harm reduction and overdose prevention goals for the site. Changes
included self-reported healthier substance use practices and improved well-being.
Other changes participants identified included participating in community and finding
hope and new directions

The experience of feeling safe and the relationships that developed at the site were the
foundations that made transformation possible. For many participants, their
experiences at the site provided opportunities for hope, growth, and transformation of
themselves and their community.