Important Information for Substance Users

To get support locally, contact Keeping Six, a community-based organization that defends the rights, dignity, and humanity of people who use drugs. Email info@keepingsix.org or reach out via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pg/keepingsixhamilton) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/keepingsix). Additional resources can be found at https://keepingsix.org/ and http://www.hamsmart.ca/.

The following tips have been adapted from COVID-19 Guidance for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Programs by The Harm Reduction Coalition

Minimize the need to share your supplies when you can. 

Avoid sharing e-cigarrettes, cigarettes, pipes, bongs/ joints, nasal tubes (like straws). If you have to share, wipe down the mouthpiece with an alcohol swab. Dispose of any used devices carefully.

Prepare your drugs yourself. 

Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water, make sure you get between your fingers, under your nails, and your fingertips. Wipe down your surfaces before and after use with microbial wipes, alcohol (at least 70%), or bleach. If you can’t prepare your own drugs, stay with the person who is preparing them, tell them to wash their hands before and after.

Plan and prepare for overdose. 

Emergency services might be stretched in a COVID-19 outbreak, and slow to respond to 911 calls. If you are alone, try to use less to avoid overdose. If you are using with others, make an OD plan. Store a breathing mask for use in case rescue breathing is needed.

Plan and prepare for involuntary withdrawal.

Naloxone is currently limited to 2 per individual per day, so try your best to stock up.

Stock up on drugs.

If you’ve got the money, stock up your drug of choice and any necessary equipment. Get enough to last you 2-4 weeks. Be prepared for the possibility of needle exchanges and other services closing down.

If you are on medication assisted treatment, check with your pharmacist and provider and ask what their protocols will be if you are quarantined or if they have to shut down.

Where to get harm reduction supplies

The Aids Network office is currently closed but the van program is still operational. The van will continue to operate from 7pm – 11pm every night and on Monday- Friday from 9am- 11:30am, as well as 2:30pm – 5:30pm. Text or call (905) 317-9966. Services are not booked through the website. Click here for a list of available harm reduction supplies.https://aidsnetwork.ca/harm-reduction-supplies/