March 1, 2019

Toronto continues to be in the midst of an opioid overdose crisis. Individuals experiencing homelessness and who use opioids are at high risk of overdose.

One of the key risk factors to overdose is using alone. Washrooms in shelters and respite sites provide private space for clients to use, and present particular risk of overdose.

Regardless of the rules, client safety comes first.

Staff should take the following action to increase client safety related to drug use in washrooms:

  1. Be aware of the overdose risks related to washrooms on-site.
  2. Build regular washroom checks into staff rounds and carry naloxone when conducting washroom checks.
  3. Make sure that service users are aware of overdose risks and safety measures.
  4. Be ready to respond to an overdose. This includes ensuring that naloxone supplies are on-site for staff to administer to clients as needed.

A detailed tip sheet for staff on overdoses in washrooms is available. Please share with staff and post it in places that are visible to staff and to service users.


  • Tip sheet: Risks of Overdose in Washrooms.
  • If you need naloxone for your first aid kit, please contact your Agency Review Officer (ARO).
  • If you need staff training in overdose prevention and response, please register for an upcoming session.