Overdose Prevention Site


Hamilton Urban Core's Overdose Prevention Site


On June 5, 2018 Hamilton’s first temporary Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) opened its doors to clients. Currently, Hamilton Urban Core has a fully operational overdose prevention site at 71 Rebecca Street, Hamilton ON. The site, a partnership between Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre and the Shelter Health Network, is embedded within Hamilton Urban Core and operates seven days per week.

The OPS provides potentially life-saving services to people who inject drugs. It is a safe and hygienic environment for people to inject pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of qualified staff. The site contains three injection areas and has a minimum of three staff on site at all times which include a health care professional (physician or nurse) in addition to a harm reduction worker and a peer support worker, preferably with lived experience.

The OPS is considered to be an important factor in helping to address the opioid overdose crisis in Hamilton and extends the harm reduction services at the Core. In addition to supervised injection, individuals also have access to sterile harm reduction supplies (needles and syringes), counseling, primary health care, wound care, naloxone, education and health promotion materials, and education on overdose prevention and intervention in the event of an overdose.

What is an Overdose Prevention Site?

Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) are temporary supervised injection sites that:
  • Operate as lifeguard stations for IV drug use
  • Offer a safe, hygienic environment for people to inject pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of staff in the case of an overdose
  • Provide sterile injection supplies, education, overdose prevention and intervention, nursing and other services and referrals

What are the benefits of an OPS?

  • Reducing the number of drug overdoses
  • Reducing the risk factors leading to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and educating clients to safe practices
  • Facilitating increased access to detox and drug treatment services
  • Connecting people with other health and social services
  • Reducing the number of publicly discarded needles; and reducing the cost of health care services
  • Safe body sites to inject
  • Education about opioid tolerance and risk of overdosing

OPS Fact Sheet