About Our Team and Program
The Cultural Outreach Harm Reduction Team/program serves the C.M.O. area: Chippewa of the Thames, Muncey Delaware, and Oneida of the Thames community members!.
The Cultural Outreach Harm Reduction Team/program utilizes the principles and practices of harm reduction in an effort to empower service users to have access to safer drug use practices and access to other support services as defined by the needs of each individual. By centering community well-being and the restoration of different Indigenous knowledge systems, lifeways, ceremonies, culture, and governance structures, the Cultural Outreach Harm Reduction Team/ program seeks to reduce the harm experienced by our service users. The Cultural Outreach Worker’s will utilize the evidence-based principles and practices of harm reduction and First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Model in an effort to guide the success of our Program; Harm reduction is an international strategy based on public health and human rights and is grounded in evidence-based research. Harm reduction is aimed at the reduction of negative consequences of drug use, including the transmission of infectious diseases, overdoses and other negative consequences of drug use. The primary focus of harm reduction is on people who are already experiencing some harm due to their substance use. Interventions are geared to movement from more to less harm with a holistic trauma-informed approach by utilizing our cultural ways as an asset to support individuals on their journey.
- Provide harm reduction materials/supplies to IDU population through consistent delivery/pickup services
- Handle and transport large quantities of used syringes and properly dispose of biohazardous materials within the agency’s policies and procedures
- Provide educational materials on harm reduction, HIV, HCV, and other blood-borne illnesses
- Provide support for at-risk populations with regards to health promotion, community resources, etc.
- Train staff/volunteers on needle exchange protocol to Naloxone Training and kits
- Maintain positive relationships with community partner agencies regarding the needle exchange program
- Provide agency backup coverage on a scheduled rotating basis
- Deliver HIV/AIDS Basics presentations to a variety of audiences as required
- Respond to calls, prioritize and schedule delivery services requested by service users
- Develop and deliver prevention and harm reduction presentations/messages to target populations
- Monitor statistical information on outreach contacts to identify current issues and develop strategies to address these issues
- Support individuals affected by/at risk of drug use, sex trade, and homelessness
- Provide information and referrals regarding support services to clients
- Liaise with appropriate community resources on behalf of clients
- Promote the use of harm reduction services in the Health Centre
Harm reduction has many benefits for people who use substances, their families, and communities. Research shows harm reduction activities can:
- Increase referrals to treatment programs and health and social services.
- Reduce crime and increase employment among people who use substances.
- Reduce hepatitis and HIV.
- Reduce overdose deaths and other early deaths among people who use substances.
- Reduce injection substance use in public places and reduce the number of used needles in public.
- Reduce the sharing of needles and other substance use equipment.
- Educate about safer injecting and smoking and reduce the frequency of use.
- Educate about safer sex and sexual health
We provide and connect individuals with support services & programs such as Indigenous language, traditional teachings to cultural support programming: Red path – Mental Health & Addiction programming, talking circles, community sacred fires, full moon ceremony, ancestor feasts, smudging 101, seven grandfather teachings, cultural social gatherings venue set up, medicine wheel: self-care teachings, water & medicine walks, annual healing pipe ceremony Dec 21 and harm reduction outreach mobile information station. The Cultural Outreach Harm Reduction Team can help link folks with traditional knowledge carriers upon request. We also provide the four sacred medicines, cedar, tobacco, sage & sweetgrass to smudging shells, matches, copper cups, and feast bundles(cup, bowl & plate) upon request.
The Cultural Outreach Harm Reduction Worker’s will meet at-risk individuals in the C.M.O. communities with a holistic trauma-informed approach and meet folks where they are at. In doing so, the focus will remain on addressing the individual’s strengths and needs and facilitating access through case management and referrals to the appropriate community services and supports, such as; traditional healers, physicians, social workers for counseling, Police, Probation Officers, Ontario Works, Employment supports and training, Housing and ID clinics (OHIP card, Status Cards, etc.) to obtain proper identification where needed.