The drug poisoning crisis in Toronto remains a serious public health issue. Each overdose, whether fatal or not, has a devastating impact on people who use drugs, their families, friends and many others who work tirelessly to provide support for people who use drugs. There are steps your agency can take to help. Find out how your agency can add or adjust services so that people who use drugs feel welcome, supported and safe.

Businesses can learn more about creating safe spaces for staff and patrons during the overdose crisis.

In response to increasing concerns about opioid overdose in Toronto, The Works at Toronto Public Health is providing free online training for staff at community-based organizations to assist them in responding to opioid overdose. The content in this training is also applicable to the general public in their potential roles as overdose responders. This training reviews the signs of opioid overdose, risk factors for opioid overdose, and how to respond to an opioid overdose including how to administer naloxone.

The Works’ overdose training is available as an on-demand module and pre-scheduled live webinar. Please click the applicable button below to access the module or webinar registration page.

On-Demand Module

Launch the Overdose Training Module

Download the Overdose Training Module as a PDF.

Live Webinar

The live webinar schedule will be updated as new sessions are added. Please check back for new dates. Currently, sessions are offered monthly on an alternating afternoon and evening schedule.

Please note that naloxone kits are not provided as a part of this training. To get your kit, find out where naloxone is available in your community. 

Register Here

 

Please direct any questions about this training or requests for organizational overdose policy development consultation to workstraining@toronto.ca.

Eligible organizations (as defined by the Ministry of Health) for the distribution of naloxone will be able to obtain naloxone through The Works for distribution to their clients who are at risk of opioid overdose.

First, Let Us Know!

Email the Works at theworks@toronto.ca to tell us about your agency’s interest, need and capacity to include naloxone distribution. Due to the Ontario Naloxone Program’s eligibility criteria, the decision to bring new agencies on board is based on an agency’s indication of need, population served, readiness and staffing capacity.

Prepare a Description of Need

Complete the Statement of Need to help us determine how you meet the Ministry criteria for naloxone distribution. Some questions to help you assess your agency’s readiness to undertake naloxone distribution:
  • Does your agency work directly with populations at risk of opioid overdose?
  • Does your agency reach a difficult to reach (priority population) where there is known drug using/opioid activity?
  • Has your agency had requests for naloxone?
  • Do you have naloxone “champions” ready to take the lead? Can your agency commit to and sustain naloxone distribution?

Obtain Organizational Approval to Be Involved

All Toronto naloxone distribution agencies are required to sign a service agreement with the City of Toronto (Public Health) in order to distribute naloxone. This means that the organization must have their executive director or someone with signing authority legally commit to the terms of a contract. Along with your Description of Need, interested agencies should also submit a letter of support from someone in a leadership position that will eventually sign the service agreement.

This step depends on the agreed upon timing and activities for initiating naloxone distribution at your agency. Before naloxone distribution starts at your agency, your agency and the Medical Officer of Health at Toronto Public Health must sign the service agreement; your agency must sign a Declaration of Non-Discrimination Policy and share a copy of its insurance certificate. Additionally, all staff who will be involved or impacted by naloxone distribution at your agency must receive training.

Complete Contract and Training

This means that a minimum of one staff member from each agency must receive in person training from The Works. The remaining staff must be trained using The Works train-the-trainer guide. This training will cover recognizing and responding to an overdose, naloxone administration, naloxone distribution, online data entry, storage and handling of naloxone and ordering protocols and will help ensure that your agency is ready to begin

Distribute Naloxone

With the support of The Works, your agency will then be ready to start naloxone distribution. Also, as an agency of The Works, you will become a part of the Community Naloxone Distribution Committee of agency representatives that communicate frequently and meet quarterly to discuss emerging issues in naloxone distribution and engage in knowledge transfer.

View our slide presentation, Naloxone Distribution for more in-depth information on the process and requirements for new agencies.

Agency Commitments – Summary

By signing a service agreement for naloxone distribution, an agency is committing to:

  • provide naloxone kits to eligible clients
  • ensure that at least one staff is trained by The Works and then all staff are trained using a train the trainer model in naloxone distribution
  • ensure protocols (including naloxone storage, use, and distribution) are followed
  • collect data and statistics

International research shows that supervised consumption services reduce drug overdoses, save lives and limit the spread of HIV and hepatitis C related to unsafe injection practices. In addition to supervised consumption of drugs, individuals using these health services will be provided with sterile injection supplies, education on overdose prevention and intervention, health counselling services and referrals to drug treatment, housing, income support and other services.

Supervised consumption services are a part of Toronto’s Overdose Action Plan.

Find supervised consumption services in Toronto.

 

Ensure that your organization complies with provincial policy and legislation that protects people from discrimination and requires a “duty to accommodate.”

  • Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health and addictions
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
  • Involve people who use drugs on your Board of Directors, staff hiring committees, etc.
  • Develop harm reduction and/or human rights policies for your organization.
  • Hire people with lived/living experience.
  • Create a welcoming, non-judgemental environment.
  • Involve people who use drugs in developing, implementing and evaluating policies and programs.
  • Offer low-threshold services specifically for people who use drugs.
  • Ensure your intake and assessment forms do not use stigmatizing language or ask for information that is not relevant to the service being provided.
  • Learn more about using non-stigmatizing language related to substance use here.
  • Ensure staff and volunteers receive anti-stigma training.
  • Add discussions about stigma and discrimination as a standing item to team meetings.
  • Create a staff group to identify and address service barriers and challenges.