This is Taliesin’s team. Taliesin is an RN at a supervised consumption site at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre.
“The harm reduction workers, community (peer) workers, and nurses who work here provide an essential service for people who use drugs.
Over 4000 Canadians die each year from opioid overdoses, and our clients stay safer by using with us rather than alone, even during a pandemic. The drug supply is highly variable right now – there are still just as many overdoses in our community as there were a few months ago.
Thankfully we have had help from the other people who work at our centre, who screen everyone who comes in at the door for COVID19 symptoms. Respiratory viruses require a whole new level of infection control. We have had to reduce our hours so we can remain open but conserve PPE.
We have had to limit the number of people we let into the room and the building in order to maintain physical distancing. This sometimes means long waits to use our site and this can be very hard for our clients. We’ve also moved some care to phone/video visits. Some of our clients may not have phones, but they can come in and we can connect them to their methadone and suboxone doctors.
Most of the people who come see us every day are homeless and can’t self-isolate as much as they would like to.
The places they would normally go, like parks or the library, are all closed.
Although we have had to scale back much of our services, we are still providing a place for people to wash their hands, get trustworthy COVID-19 information and receive health care.”