About the Program
Referrals to the Safer Opioid Supply Program are currently closed. We will announce open referral periods by email and on this webpage a week in advance of the open period and will make all relevant forms available at that time. If you submitted a referral during a past referral period and have not heard back, submit it again during the next open referral period.
If you have missed the open referral period, you can receive news of upcoming referral periods by adding your email address to our intake information mailing list: Mailing List Sign-Up Form.
About the program:
Building on the work of physicians who started offering safer supply prescribing at the health centre in early 2019, the Safer Opioid Supply (SOS) Program was established at Parkdale Queen West in 2020, adding a mobile component in 2021. Clients in the program receive prescriptions for pharmaceutical opioids with the goal of supporting them to decrease their reliance on the toxic, unpredictable street supply of opioids. Clients are also supported by staff who offer case management, appointment accompaniment, counselling, harm reduction education, recreational/drop-in programming, mobile care, and connections to other services at PQWCHC and in the community.
Communities who use drugs have made urgent demands for the implementation of responsive interventions to decelerate the rampant harm of the toxic drug crisis, including for the rapid expansion of safer supply access. Medical safer supply is an evidence-informed intervention to save the lives of people who use drugs. The SOS Program aims to provide client-centered care foundationally informed by harm reduction values and principles and guided by people with lived and living experience.
- Our 2023 PQWCHC SOS Evaluation Report is now available. The evaluation explored questions related to the objectives the SOS program set in its pilot phase: whether the SOS program effectively supported clients to reduce overdoses; engaged clients in harm reduction, stabilizing healthcare, and comprehensive care services; and helped clients reduce the harms associated with illegal activities required to access the unregulated supply of drugs. The evaluation also explored clients’ quality of life outcomes and access to social supports. The report includes a summary of client-identified needs related to safer supply and recommendations at the program, community, and policy levels. PQWCHC SOS Evaluation Report – 2023
- For a summary of the report’s key findings, client-identified needs, and recommendations, view and share this infographic: Infographic – PQWCHC SOS Evaluation – 2023
- To learn more about the background of safer supply and to advocate for yourself or a community member to receive safer supply from another provider, access the Safer Opioid Supply Referral and Advocacy Toolkit here: Safer Opioid Supply Referral and Advocacy Toolkit. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with Street Health, part of the Downtown East Collaborative Safer Opioid Supply Program.
- An additional Ontario regional advocacy toolkit with information about Toronto sites for harm reduction support and safer supply is available from the National Safer Supply Community of Practice: Safer Supply, Opioid Agonist Treatment & Harm Reduction Regional Advocacy Toolkit: Ontario
- Supporters of safer supply can find more information at the National Safer Supply Community of Practice website, which offers shared resources, collaborative space, and community to those involved in safer supply in Canada, including people who use drugs. The NSS-CoP also offers a prescriber consultation hotline.
- A digital version of the program member handbook for the fixed-site (Queen West and Parkdale) part of the program is available here: PQW-SOS Program Member Handbook – May 2022 Please refer to the handbook to learn more about how the SOS Program operates and resources available to program members through the Health Centre. A handbook for the mobile part of the program is in development!
- The SOS Program’s Clinical and Operational Protocols are available here: PQW-SOS Clinical and Operational Protocols – June 2022. Not all workflows are included. These protocols are updated as our practice evolves in response to input from program members and the safer supply community, as well as the experience of the PQW-SOS staff team.
- Members of the SOS team along with other PQWCHC harm reduction staff and two physician leads developed an updated training on using oxygen for opioid overdose in hotel shelter settings in 2022. The training was supported by a new medical directive delegating the use of oxygen for overdose to trained shelter staff. The training was delivered to 41 supervisory staff at Homes First Society hotel shelters to support the implementation and delegation of oxygen administration in those settings. To learn more about the development of this activity and feedback from participants, see the report here: Report – Comprehensive Overdose Response with Oxygen Training for Shelter Providers in Toronto. For more information, contact Gab Laurence: email@example.com
The PQWCHC SOS Program is supported with funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. The views expressed on this webpage or in materials posted here do not necessarily reflect the views of Health Canada.