The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) from Western University Health Sciences engaged in a research partnership to understand how a temporary overdose prevention site in southwestern Ontario has influenced the lives of people who use drugs (PWUD).
Funding for this study was provided by MLHU. Additional in-kind contributions from both MLHU and CHRESI.
Our research question:
How has the temporary overdose prevention site
changed the lives of those who have accessed the site?
We were interested in finding out about the following
types of changes in site users lives, including:
Site staff assisted with:
Research staff were responsible for:
Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gather
information of their experiences on how the site had
influenced their day-to-day lives.
Participants were then provided with a disposable
camera to take photos that represent the influence
of the site.
Camera Return and Photo Development
Participants were asked to return the cameras to the site,
where the researchers then retrieved the
cameras and arranged photo development.
In the follow-up interviews, the photographs were
used to facilitate story-telling.
Participants were asked to share the meaning of the
photos they chose.
Changes to Data Collection Protocol
Due to a low rate of camera return (8/27 participants),
a new protocol was implemented utilizing a Peer
Support Worker employed by the Regional HIV/AIDS
Connection (RHAC) to accompany participants in a
digital photo taking process.
Second Interviews were conducted with participants
immediately following photo taking process with the
We used participatory approaches throughout the study including:
The Project Team:
Our Project Team included the following individuals
which also aligns with the authors of our reports:
Michelle Sangster Bouck, MA Program Evaluator
Middlesex-London Health Unit,
Abe Oudshoorn, RN, PhD
MSW Middlesex-London Health Unit, melissa.
Shamiram Zendo, PhD Western University,
Helene Berman, RN, PhD
Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Western University
Academic Director, Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion
Jordan Banninga, MSc
Middlesex-London Health Unit,
Marlene Janzen Le Ber, PhD
Brescia Excellence in Research Professor,
Chair School of Leadership & Social Change, Brescia University College
Zayya Zendo, BSc Western University,
We would like to acknowledge the following for their contributions:
All our participants for sharing your stories All the staff at CarePoint
With special thanks to:
Sonja Burke, Director
Peer Support Worker
For More Information:
What to learn more or have questions about the study?
Email the Project Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drug Overdose Crisis in Middlesex-London:
Our community of Middlesex-London, like many Canadian communities,
has been significantly impacted by opioid-related deaths.
The rates of emergency department visits, and opioid-related hospitalizations
had also increased during the 2018-2019 timeframe representing a large burden
on the health care system.
For the latest data on Opioid related morbidity and mortality in Middlesex-London
region, visit Public Health Ontario’s Interactive Opioid Tool:
– In response to this intensifying crisis, multiple community and government
agencies have joined in local efforts to save lives, and address harms associated
with opioid use.
– One such effort was the establishment of a temporary overdose prevention site (TOPS).
– In February 2018, Ontario’s first legally sanctioned temporary overdose prevention
site opened its doors in London.
– It was a collaboration between its founding partners, the Middlesex-London Health Unit
and Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.
– In April 2019, TOPS began to transition to the new provincially-funded Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) program, named CarePoint Consumption and Treatment Services.
The site provides a safe place for people to consume substances under the supervision and care of health professionals (Registered Nurse or Emergency Medical Services) and harm reduction workers.
The staff are situated in the drug consumption room to support clients and provide education about substance use practices, as well as potential health concerns from injection drug use [e.g. soft tissue injuries, cellulitis, abscesses,
Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infections (iGAS), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)].
The site is supported by several community partner agencies
that provide wrap-around services on a rotational basis at the
site. Among these are the
After 2 years of operation, the site had provided
To find out more about CarePoint Consumption and Treatment Services, visit: http://www.hivaidsconnection.ca/carepoint