(Regional Harm Reduction Worker Allie Torrance with our new regional van)
The AIDS Network is proud to announce the expansion of our regional harm reduction services with the upcoming launch of a new mobile harm reduction program serving Brantford, Brant County, Haldimand and Norfolk. This initiative is modelled on the success of Hamilton’s program The Van, a mobile harm reduction service that has operated in partnership between The AIDS Network (TAN) and Hamilton Public Health Services for over 20 years. The TAN Van program serving Brantford, Brant County, Haldimand and Norfolk will provide access to new harm reduction supplies, retrieval and safe disposal of used supplies, naloxone kits and naloxone training, education and resources and safer sex supplies.
“As service providers responding to the overdose crisis in Ontario, we feel a responsibility to ensure that there is consistent, low-barrier access to harm reduction services available to all people who use drugs in the regions The AIDS Network serves,” says The AIDS Network’s Executive Director Tim McClemont.
“For many, especially people who live in remote or rural parts of our catchment area, accessing these services can be an enormous challenge. This new program is an important step towards reducing and eliminating barriers to crucial, life-saving harm reduction services many people at high risk currently face”
In 2016, Haldimand and Norfolk had the second highest number of opioid related deaths in Ontario, according to Health Unit Haldimand Norfolk (hnhu.org). Brant County saw an increase of 59% in overdose-related deaths in 2019 compared to 2018. Overdoses were up 14% and overdose-related emergency room visits were up 16% according to Brant County Health Unit (bchu.org).
The regional van program is presently planned to operate from 3:00pm – 6:00pm Monday to Friday, dividing its service between Haldimand and Norfolk (2 days) and Brant County (3 days). We plan to begin delivering this service in the spring of 2020.