PDS In Action
A Question of Care
A Question of Care is a local capacity-building initiative focused on building and strengthening skills, knowledge, and awareness to address the intersections between trauma, stigma, substance use, and mental illness by creating space for mutual learning, respectful dialogue, and fostering collaboration between professionals.
We are currently working to enhance the Question of Care project to further meet the needs of professionals and organizations in our community with funding from a local family foundation. We will be establishing a financially sustainable model for the project that will no longer be reliant on grants.
For more information or to see the training schedule, visit www.questionofcare.com.
Peterborough Community Cannabis Project
Similar to our opioid project in 2017-18, beginning in 2018 until 2020 we will be working to support helping professionals and members of the public in Peterborough City and County with evidence-based information and supports as we transition to legal cannabis for non-medical use. One of the resources developed through this project is the Cannabis Hub. We will also be hosting a number of focus groups on cannabis use and harm reduction near the end of 2019. Stay tuned for more details.
Past Project: PDS Panel
The PDS Panel was an opportunity for people with lived experience related to substance use to use their experiences to help inform local programs, policies and initiatives. It was also an opportunity for organizations to get feedback on their activities and adapt them to better meet the needs of people with lived experience of substance use.
Over the course of a one-year pilot project (2017-18), we established the panel, which offered consulting services to PDS member organizations. We are currently exploring additional funding opportunities to support a second phase of this project, with a goal of expanding access to the panel’s services beyond PDS partners to any interested organization in the community.
This project was generously funded by:
Past Project: Peterborough Regional Overdose Preparedness Project
The Peterborough Police Service with PDS and other supporting organizations received funding in July 2017 from Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing program to support the harm reduction work already happening in our community.
From September 2017 to March 2018, PDS undertook a number of project components to meet identified harm reduction needs in our community. These activities included:
- Supporting local pharmacists to distribute naloxone in their pharmacies.
- A local training schedule of opioid training for employees at risk of needing to respond to an onsite overdose at work.
- Training for service providers and specialized training for establishments that serve alcohol.
- The training model created through this grant will continue to offer training beyond the end of the funding timeframe.
- Development of informational resources that respond to community requests, including:
- Information Sheets.
- A policy document to help agencies develop a first-aid response policy to opioid overdoses.
- Access to local online information about opioids.
Past Project: Emergency Department Naloxone Access Project
The Peterborough Police Service with PDS and other supporting organizations received funding in August 2016 from the Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing program to work with the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) to implement a naloxone distribution kit program through the hospital’s emergency department.
In recent years, accidental deaths due to opioid overdoses and poisonings have steadily increased. Opioid overdose is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death in Ontario, and opioid-related deaths more than double the rate of fatalities resulting from traffic collisions.
Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids (such as morphine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl) can slow or halt breathing, resulting in a loss of consciousness. Administering naloxone can help to temporarily restore normal breathing, preventing brain damage or even death.
Research shows that with minimal training, people with no medical background can recognize and treat an overdose with naloxone as successfully as a healthcare provider. Additionally, individuals are empowered by the ability to save lives, and naloxone distribution programs help reduce stigma towards people who use drugs. Naloxone does not replace the need for emergency medical care but can help prevent deaths and reduce irreversible, long-term complications associated with opioid overdose.
Take-Home Naloxone Distribution Programs are an evidence-based approach with positive benefits and are sought after by our communities. In order to effectively treat opioid addiction, it is necessary to ensure that the individuals who use opioids are alive to receive treatment.
What is the Project?
The goal of this project was to arm individuals who are at risk of overdose and their families with a life-saving, harm reduction tool. Through this partnership, the emergency department staff received training to distribute take-home naloxone kits to emergency room patients at risk of an opioid overdose.
If you or a family member use opioids, you don’t need to visit the emergency room to get a kit. Visit our Overdose Information page for more information about where you can get a FREE kit in the community.
Past Project: Challenge, Beliefs, Change (CBC)
Challenges, Beliefs, Change connects senior high school students to grade 8 feeder school classrooms to facilitate discussions about substance use, internet safety and making healthy choices. Most of this information is conveyed through hands-on activities that are engaging, interactive and interesting to both the facilitators and the students. The students are accompanied by the school liaison officer and student success teacher from the high school, who are responsible for providing support to the peer leaders.
This program was started in 1985 by Parent Action on Drugs and aims to increase knowledge and awareness of personal beliefs regarding substances and substance use; build skills, confidence and resiliency for dealing with teen challenges; foster positive relationships among youth, schools and the broader community and aid in the transition to high school. It emphasizes a non-judgmental atmosphere where youth can openly share their opinions rather than a fear-based, ‘don’t do drugs’ approach.
The program creates an opportunity for grade 8 students to:
- Connect with high school students who will be at their school the following year.
- Have the opportunity to meet support staff and make an early connection (student success teacher and school liaison officer).
- Ease the transition to high school.
- Learn important information in a fun and enjoyable environment.
- Make a positive connection to a Peterborough police officer.
High School Peer Leaders also have the opportunity to benefit by:
- Increasing their confidence in public speaking.
- Receiving substance use education.
- Exploring the opportunity to be a role model for younger students.
- Making connections with students who will be in their school the following year.
- Getting involved in their community.
Student Success Teachers benefit by:
- Developing strong relationships with peer leaders and students alike.
- Collaborating with other community agencies (e.g. Parent Action on Drugs, police services, Peterborough Public Health, etc.).
- Having the opportunity to visit the feeder schools and connect with future grade 9 students.
During the 2015/16 season, data was collected to evaluate the program and a report was published in Fall 2016.
Past Project: Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth
Up to 2015, PDS implemented the Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth (SFPY) program in Peterborough. SFPY is a great program that comes from Parent Action on Drugs. The goal of the program is to improve communication between parents and teens. Topics covered included communication, praise, stress management and other issues that impact family relationships.
Benefits for Parents*:
- Learn to understand where their teen is coming from.
- Improve communication.
- Find fresh approaches to old problems.
- Set the stage for positive discipline.
- Ensure a consistent approach to guiding their teen’s behaviour.
Benefits for Teens*:
- Learn to understand their parents’ concerns.
- Improve communication.
- Build social skills to help them make good decisions that will support their well-being and mental health.
Past Project: Life Unleashed
Life Unleashed was a speakers group made up of youth who have lived experience of alcohol and drug use and/or mental health issues. After several months of training, participants had the opportunity to share their stories of adversity, challenge and change to other members of the Peterborough community.
The goal of Life Unleashed was to build public speaking skills for youth and empower them to share their experiences, while providing audiences (often younger youth) with insightful reflections.