• Past and Upcoming Events

  • In Remembrance of Alexandra de Kiewit

  • Featured Resources

  • Research Paper of the Month

  • Research

  • Community Updates and Events

  • In the News

  • Ways to Get Involved



On Thursday, October 27, 2022, we hosted the hot topic webinar: Building Capacity Among Prescribed Safe(r) Supply Providers. The session spotlighted the new AVI Health and Community Services Knowledge Translation and Exchange (KTE) initiative aimed at providing ground-level support and education to current and prospective prescribed safe(r) supply programs. The project leans on the learnings of an interdisciplinary team with experience offering prescribed safe(r) supply programming to foster solidarity and grow confidence for new programs.

Our speakers included:
  • Corey Ranger, Project Manager and Lead Consultant, AVI Health & Community Services SAFER Knowledge Translation & Exchange Project
  • Laura Cartwright, Harm Reduction Consultant, AVI Health & Community Services SAFER Knowledge Translation & Exchange Project
A moderated Q & A session followed their presentation. Click here for the webinar recording and resources shared!


Weekly Member Drop-In Meetings:
Members are welcome to join our weekly meeting drop-in meetings. It is an interdisciplinary group with prescribers, pharmacists, harm reduction workers, policy folks, nurses, people who use drugs, etc. Right now, we are meeting on Thursdays at 12pm EDT. Zoom Link

In addition to time for community updates and discussion, our meetings now include an informal presentation from a member or guest about the work that they are doing. You can sign up to present about the work you are doing by clicking here.

Themes that arose in the community discussion portion of our meetings in October included:
  • Black CAP informal presentation (discussed harm reduction in the BIPOC community), followed by a Q&A session with Black CAP
  • Methadone to Metadol switch
  • Phenacetin - is this being seen in urine samples?
  • Frequency of urine toxicology testing
  • How to handle police on steering committees
  • Good Samaritan law - what does and does not constitute personal possession, and when is this law detrimental?
Full meeting minutes can be found in the meeting notes and resources folder on our Google Drive.

Starting a new program? Join us on Fridays from 2 to 4pm EDT to meet with others involved in safer supply program operations. We will learn from each other, share resources, ask questions, work through problems, and celebrate successes!

Want to learn more about our different working groups? Come check out what we've been up to!


Join us on Monday, November 7th at 3pm EST for our monthly research spotlight webinar: Safer Supply Ottawa Program Evaluation. This session will spotlight the safer supply program evaluation being conducted in Ottawa.

Our speakers for this session are from the University of Ottawa School of Nursing:

Marlene Haines, RN PhD(c), Research Associate
Marlene Haines is a PhD Candidate in the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa. Her program of research focuses on the overdose crisis, harm reduction, and drug policy. She is also a Registered Nurse with clinical expertise in safer supply programs, injectable opioid agonist therapy, and working with individuals who use substances as well as those who are homeless or unstably housed.

Athena Tefoglou, RPN BSc, Research Associate
Athena Tefoglou is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Student at the University of Ottawa. She is a Registered Practical Nurse currently working in safer supply research, program development and acute care. Her working experience includes outpost nursing and community care nursing using a harm reduction lens.

Patrick O’Byrne, RN-EC PhD, Full Professor
Patrick O’Byrne RN-EC PhD is a Full Professor of Nursing at the University of Ottawa and a Nurse Practitioner at the Sexual Health Clinic. His research and clinical practice focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Dr. O’Byrne holds a research chair in public health and HIV prevention from the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. He is also the Principal Investigator for, the first project to offer mail-out delivery of free HIV self-tests in Canada.

Audience members are encouraged to submit their questions in the Q & A box. This is a public event. 
Register now!

Join us on Thursday, November 24, 2022 at 12PM EST for the hot topic webinar: Mobile Safer Supply Programs - Meeting People Where They Are At. Come learn about Mobile Safer Supply Program Models through the experiences of teams at Toronto and London Community Health Centres. These programs aim to meet people where they are at and offer lower barrier access to safer supply and primary care. Presentations from London InterCommunity Health Centre, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, and South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Audience members are encouraged to submit their questions in the Q & A box. This is a public event. Register now!
Along with hundreds of community members, we are heartbroken to hear of the sudden passing of Alexandra de Kiewit. Alexandra was central to harm reduction and drug user advocacy not only in Quebec, but across Turtle Island and internationally.

Alexandra, a co-founder and Board of Directors member of the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs, was an active member of the National Safer Supply Community of Practice. We benefited from her voice on multiple committees and working groups including "Action for Safer Supply," a working group composed exclusively of people who use drugs whose goal is to make safer supply a reality for all drug users across the country.

Along with her keen expertise and deep knowledge, Alexandra poured her inspiring personality and unstoppable activism into everything she did. She taught many people many things.

She saw deeply rooted intersections between criminalized communities and worked ceaselessly to promote the liberation of all people – sex workers, people who use drugs, people living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C, people living with disabilities, and other marginalized people. For her, the decriminalization of sex work and drugs – as well as the establishment of an accessible regulated drug supply – was crucial to liberation and the realization of fundamental human rights for everyone.

Alexandra taught us compassion, community organizing, group facilitation, radical drug user advocacy, collective solidarity, movement building, and conflict resolution. Most of all, she taught us about love and what it means to love all people – in all their raw, beautiful, human, and very powerful forms.

We are certainly not alone in this grief. Alexandra's impact will be felt far and wide for decades to come. We will continue our collective work in her honour and memory. Our sincere condolences to her family, friends, loved ones, and extended community. We stand together in grief and in solidarity with all those affected by this immense loss. May she rest in power.

In love and in rage,
Alexandra Holtom, for the National Safer Supply Community of Practice
NSS-CoP Resource Library: Did you know we have a resource library with OVER 700 resources on safer supply? You can access it for FREE anytime. It features academic journal articles, grey literature, knowledge translation materials, clinical practice guidelines, and more!

Victoria SAFER Initiative: Safe Supply Protocols: The Victoria SAFER Initiative is a flexible, community-based, safer supply program with health care provider oversight. Its goal is to affirm the lives of people who use drugs by providing safer, pharmaceutical alternatives to the currently toxic supply created by criminalization. Updates may have been made to these protocols since you received them. Please check back with the Victoria SAFER Initiative ( at AVI Health & Community Services should updated versions be required.

Fentanyl Patch: Prescribed Safer Supply Protocols - PHS Community Services, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, and Government of British Columbia: In July 2021, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health, and Office of the Provincial Health Officer released Access to Prescribed Safer Supply in British Columbia: Policy Direction, which enables individuals to access a range of medications through prescription to reduce the risk of drug toxicity death due to accessing the illicit drug supply. The first phase of implementation of this policy allows for the prescribing of certain opioids through regional health authority-run programs and federally funded programs (e.g., SAFER). Prescribed pharmaceutical alternatives is not intended for treatment of substance use disorders but is primarily a harm reduction approach as one strategy for reducing the risks of illicit drug toxicity events and deaths. The new prescribed safer supply protocols are being developed and released in a phased approach to support the implementation of emerging approaches for prescribed safer supply in BC, beginning with fentanyl patches with resources for sufentanil and Fentora to follow. These protocols will be updated as evidence is collected and practices are evaluated.

Scan of Evidence and Jurisdictional Approaches to Safer Supply - Public Health Ontario: The objective of this environmental scan is to summarize evidence on the health and social impacts of safer supply programs. This scan will also describe local, provincial/state, national or international examples of safer supply models.

Xylazine: A frank scope of "tranq-dope" - Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project: There has been increasing interest in the media recently about xylazine, a sedative that sometimes shows up in down/opioid samples. This post answers some common questions we’ve heard about xylazine by drawing on research, the wisdom of lived experience, and our own data.

Impact of the COVID-19 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act exemption on pharmacist prescribing of opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants in Ontario - Ontario Drug Policy Research Network: The lockdowns and restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic led to worsening continuity of care in patients receiving any chronic treatment. Health Canada issued an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) in March 2020 allowing pharmacists to act as prescribers of controlled substances to support continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study investigated the utilization of Ontario pharmacist prescribing of opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants from January 2019 to December 2021.

Grief Basics - AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario: This is an opportunity to learn more about your own grief and the bereavement experiences of your staff, coworkers, clients, and community members. ABRPO's hope is that this course can contribute to a shared language about our grief and care across the sector.

The Safer Bathroom Toolkit - Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research: Bathrooms can provide private, seemingly safe spaces for people to use substances, especially when they are unable to access supervised consumption or overdose prevention sites. Even when these designated services are available, some people will continue to use substances in bathrooms. There are several reasons for this, such as privacy, stigma, and fear of others knowing they use substances. However, there can be serious risks to using substances in bathrooms, including overdosing alone and potentially not receiving lifesaving help in time. Restricting access to bathrooms or implementing measures to discourage substance use in bathrooms does not work. Rather, doing so increases risks for people who use substances, staff, and other people at risk of injury due to unsafe bathroom lighting, layout, and so forth. There are ways of making bathrooms safer for people who use substances. This toolkit will help you to do that.

Saving Our Own Lives - A Liberatory Practice of Harm Reduction: This is a conversation about liberatory harm reduction with Shira Hassan and other organizers about her new book, Saving Our Own Lives. This is a recording from Haymarket Books, recorded on October 5th, 2022.

Provider-Assisted Injection in Ontario's Supervised Consumption Services Frequently Asked Questions - HIV Legal Network: This resource answers some frequently asked questions about legal liability to help SCS providers in Ontario make informed decisions about their practices related to assisted injection.

ED Toolkit for Opioid Use Disorder - META:PHI: The goal of the META:PHI ED Toolkit for Opioid Use Disorder is to provide the resources necessary for a prescriber in any emergency department in Ontario to initiate buprenorphine when appropriate, along with additional materials to support all ED staff in providing evidence-based care for patients with opioid use disorder.

Pauly, B., McCall, J., Cameron, F., Stuart, H., Hobbs, H., Sullivan, G., Ranger, C., & Urbanoski, K. (2022). A concept mapping study of service user design of safer supply as an alternative to the illicit drug market International Journal of Drug Policy


  • Methods: Within a community based participatory approach to research, we conducted a concept mapping study to foreground the perspectives of drug users and develop a conceptual model of effective safer supply. Our team was composed of researchers from a local drug user organization, a local harm reduction organization, and academic researchers. The focused prompt developed by the team was: “Safe supply would work well if…” Sixty-three drug users participated in three rounds of focus groups as part of the concept mapping process, involving brainstorming, sorting, rating and naming of themes.
  • Results: The concept mapping process resulted in six clusters of statements: 1) Right dose and right drugs for me; 2) Safe, positive and welcoming spaces; 3) Safer supply and other services are accessible to me; 4) I am treated with respect; 5) I can easily get my safer supply; and 6) Helps me function and improves my quality of life (as defined by me). The statements within each cluster describe key components central to an effective model of safer supply as defined by drug users.
  • Conclusion: The results of this study provide insights into key components of effective safer supply to inform planning and evaluation of future safer supply programs informed by drug user perspectives.

We encourage NSS-CoP members to email with submissions to include in our newsletter. Content examples include but are not limited to community-led projects, peer-reviewed articles, grey literature, government publications, etc.


The Substance User Network of the Atlantic Region (SUNAR) is hosting their third webinar titled "Harm Reduction & Social Justice in Carceral Settings" on Friday, November 4th from 12pm to 1:30pm ADT. Join them to learn about social justice and the need for equitable access to health care and harm reduction for incarcerated people who use substances. Register now here!

Primary Care of Ontario Research and Learning (POPLAR): Attention primary care clinicians working in Fee-for-Service (FFS) models in Ontario! The Primary Care of Ontario Research and Learning (POPLAR) network is looking for guidance as we expand our outreach to FFS practitioners. We know it’s especially challenging for busy clinicians, especially those working without the support of an interprofessional team, to find time for networking, research, and knowledge-sharing. We also know that some feel reluctant to share their practice-based data with larger networks. We’d love to hear from you about what barriers you or your colleagues may be experiencing and what value you would need to get from a learning and research network in order to make participation worthwhile. Read more about POPLAR here. For more information or to share your ideas, please contact or
National and General News: British Columbia:
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Share your skills:

We’d like to create opportunities for skills sharing. Let us know if you would like to offer a workshop or present to the membership.

Share your successes:

Share your success stories, your reports, and safer supply resources that you develop with the NSS-CoP membership through:

How can we help? Let us know what you need! Our goal is to support you by assisting in areas around your programs, organizations, and communities!

Have a question that you’d like to ask? Email us: or send a message via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
(519) 660-0875 ext. 1264

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