On July 4th, 2022 the Timmins and District Hospital (TADH) announced the opening of the Safe Health Site Timmins (SHST), an urgent public health needs site located in Timmins, ON. After a month of operation, TADH is pleased to share some of the successes this site has experienced.
In the first month of operation, SHST saw 669 client visits with almost 200 unique clients accessing the site for a variety of supports. Approximately 35 per cent of visits within the first month were primarily for on-site substance use, and 49 per cent of site access being to connect with Harm Reduction services.
Not just a space to consume substances, the SHST also actively supports client referral to essential services like wound care, detoxification and treatment services, housing, mental health and employment. In the first month of operation two clients were referred to withdrawal management services, eight clients were referred to other social services, two clients were referred to counselling services and ten clients received basic medical care onsite.
“Our community is clearly demonstrating the need for enhanced addiction supports like the SHST,” shares Patrick Nowak, Manager of Addictions and Outpatient Mental Health Programs at TADH. “Throughout the first month of operation our team connected with hundreds of people who were looking for information and help. Notably, there were no overdoses at the SHST and emergency services, like ambulance, police and fire, were not required in the month of July. Building on the success of the first month, we are on track to double the number of client visits in August.”
“I am incredibly proud of the efforts of our team as we support some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” states Kate Fyfe, President and CEO of TADH. “Each of these 669 visits represents a conversation and opportunity for connection to supports and services. This important work would not be possible without the support and contributions from the City of Timmins, the Timmins and Area Drug Strategy and all of our health, addiction and social service partners. This site is saving lives.”
“The opening of the SHST represented an important milestone for our community,” shares Dr. Louisa Marion-Bellemare, addiction physician lead at TADH. “Approximately 65 per cent of the clients accessing the SHST identified they are consuming Fentanyl, a substance that has contributed to many opioid-overdose related deaths in our community. Having a space where they can be connected to the supports and services they need, while being supervised by trained medical professionals is saving lives.”
“An urgent public health needs site will not solve the opioid crisis in our community, but it is a very important piece of the overall comprehensive drug strategy,” states Dr. Julie Samson, addiction physician lead at TADH. “This site is meeting people where they are and ensuring that supports are quickly wrapped around them when they ask for help.”
SHST is a collaboration of the Timmins and Area Drug Strategy Steering Committee. The committee represents more than 20 community partners from local agencies, including health and social services, as well as public and emergency response services. SHST is just one initiative of the larger, comprehensive community drug strategy. As the operator, TADH is responsible for the day-to-day operations. For more information on the SHST please visit www.shst.ca.
A copy of the July 2022 SHST data can be found here.