Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Supervised injection services guideline to help address opioid crisis


TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2018 – Nurses, harm reduction workers, and organizations providing life-saving supervised injection services (SIS) will soon have evidence-based resources to help them provide comprehensive, respectful and equitable support to people who inject drugs.

On Wednesday, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) will release the Implementing supervised injection services best practice guideline (BPG) at a press conference at South Riverdale Community Health Centre. This community health centre in Toronto's east end is one of three locations operating Ontario's first SIS programs.

With fatal overdose rates skyrocketing across Ontario, there is a growing demand for SIS, where people can inject drugs under the supervision of trained nurses and other health workers who provide sterile supplies, overdose prevention and management, and other health and social services. To help address the overdose crisis, this new guideline will provide recommendations on how to meaningfully engage people who inject drugs, training approaches for health workers providing SIS, operational considerations such as where to locate future SIS programs, and health equity that support SIS accessibility for people with specialized needs.

"SIS save lives when they are implemented in a way that is evidence-based and meets the needs of people who inject drugs," says Dr. David McKeown, co-chair on the guideline's expert panel and former Toronto medical officer of health who helped bring SIS to the city. "This guideline will help nurses, other harm reduction workers, and decision-makers to reduce fatal overdoses and other harms of injection drug use in our communities."

The groundbreaking guideline was developed using a systematic review of evidence and consultation with a 16-member panel led by McKeown and co-chair Marjory Ditmars, an RN at Insite, North America's first legal SIS in Vancouver. Their work was supported by RNAO's guideline research and development team, which has produced 54 clinical best practice guidelines being implemented in Ontario and around the world.

"We know this guideline will be an invaluable resource for nurses and other harm reduction workers," says Dr. Valerie Grdisa, RN and director of RNAO's International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines (iaBPG) Centre. "And most importantly, we know evidence-based SIS will help save the lives of people who inject drugs, as well as protect their families and friends from the grief of losing their loved one."

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) releases the Implementing supervised injection services best practice guideline

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.

South Riverdale Community Health Centre
955 Queen St E.
Toronto, Ont.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the healthcare system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Daniel Punch
Senior Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)