Image Credit: Wikipedia.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Ottawa’s program for harm reduction, which is a pilot, for needle and pipe vending machines as well as safe injection sites has been a success while make one resident feel unsafe in the neighbourhood now.

There have been more than 250 stems for drug smoking and 600 needles dispensed since the middle of September, according to Ottawa Public Health.

The point for the program was to reduce the number of infectious diseases spread including Hepatitis C and HIV  (CTV News, 2017). The infectious diseases can be spread through drug users’ needle and pipe exchanges with one another.

Ottawa Public Health’s communications, Donna Casey, said that the feedback from the ‘clients’ or the clientele was positive. The clients said that the access to the supplies is there when other potential providers are closed.

This is apparently during the night, according to John Becvar who is a harm reduction outreach worker. The most popular harm reduction vending machine is the one in Byward Market by the Ottawa Public Health’s Clarence Street facility.

Laura MacDonald, who is a long time resident of the community, is in support of the harm reduction movement, but finds the new drug users make the community less safe than before. It is a concern to her.

People have used drugs, at her doorstep. MacDonald said, “There’s more people who are dealing drugs. There’s more prostitution. There’s more … things you wouldn’t see on a regular basis, but they’re happening on a daily basis.”

In 2016, Public Health Ontario reported that there were 40 opioid-related deaths in Ottawa (2017).


CTV News. (2017, October 29).  Ottawa needle-vending machines called a success, but resident says area’s now unsafe. Retrieved from

Public Health Ontario. (2017, September 19). Opioid-related morbidity and mortality in Ontario. Retrieved from