“The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) commends the Government of Canada for its decision to restore harm reduction as a core pillar of Canada’s drug policy, alongside prevention, treatment and enforcement, as announced by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health.
Through the new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy and the accompanying Bill C-37, the Government has taken a compassionate, evidence-based approach to its drug policy by including harm reduction and by streamlining the process of opening supervised consumption sites.
Approximately half of the people who currently use supervised consumption programs are marginalized, often homeless or reside in shelters, and are living with significant mental health problems and illnesses. In addition to reducing the harm related to substance misuse, these programs are important first points of access for people who are often poorly connected with healthcare services. The effectiveness of supervised consumption programs is well-supported by many studies conducted over several decades.
Somewhat similar to the Housing First approach that addresses homelessness and mental illness, supervised consumption sites are key components in a continuum of care for people living with serious substance misuse and mental health problems. They can be a critical gateway to other services and improved health outcomes. Increasing the number of these sites in Canada will improve health outcomes for many people who use substances and will help build healthier communities.
Increasing access to supervised consumption programs is a critical aspect of developing a mental health system that is holistic, person-centred and directed, and treats all people with dignity and respect.”
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca
Hélène Côté, Senior Communications Advisor, Marketing and Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada