The Medicine Hat Coalition on Supervised Consumption (MHCSC) has launched a Drug Use and Health Survey. The survey is part of the needs assessment process to inform the development of supervised consumption services in the City of Medicine Hat. It will also provide evidence of need to support the application for an exemption to federal legislation required for implementation of services. The MHCSC hope to conduct surveys with 200 people with a history of drug use to understand their experiences and health needs.
The MHCSC is chaired by a representative from HIV Community Link, who operates the needle distribution program in Medicine Hat. The MHCSC is a multi-stakeholder group comprised of representatives from Alberta Health Services, the City of Medicine Hat, the Medicine Hat Police Service, and community-based organizations.
In October 2016, the province announced new measures to address the opioid overdose crisis. The new measures include funding community-based needs assessments to support community agencies working to establish supervise consumption services.
For more information about this study, or to volunteer for this study, please contact: (403) 504-9081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Alberta experienced 363 deaths related to fentanyl overdose in 2016. The South Zone, including Medicine Hat, had the highest rate of emergency department visits related to opioid use, and Medicine Hat had 61 EMS responses related to opioids. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, we had 113 overdose deaths. This survey will help us to understand the needs of people who use drugs, allowing for evidence-based program planning and delivery of supervised consumption services in the community. Studies on these services demonstrate benefits including fewer overdose deaths and reductions HIV and hepatitis C infection, and reductions in public drug use and discarded injection equipment,” says Leslie Hill, Executive Director of HIV Community Link and spokesperson for the MHCSC, who adds that the collaboration between so many agencies and services in Medicine Hat demonstrates the strong support for a response to the opioid crisis.
The survey is being coordinated by Dr. Katrina Milaney, Assistant Professor in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary, and is expected to be complete by the end of August 2017.