SLFNHA’s Community-based Needle Distribution Service is one of the main building blocks for reducing harms associated with increased use of opioids in northern communities. The service was first introduced in 2010 by Health Canada. In 2013 SLFNHA took over the day-to-day management of needle distribution and this year the program is undergoing its first evaluation. “Harm reduction,” says Byron Blandon, SLFNHA’s Harm Reduction Coordinator, “makes clean supplies available to injection drug users (IDUs) living in northern First Nation. Their access to these supplies helps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like Hep B and C, and HIV, and reduces risk of injection related complications like abscesses and overdose.” The evaluation will look at the program from different points of view. A small team will visit five First Nations early in 2017 to understand how the program works in northern communities: What is it doing well, and how can it be improved? The evaluation will look at SLFNHA’s delivery of the service: how community demand for services is coordinated and what service gaps can be filled in the short- and long-term.
Needle Distribution Service is part of the Harm Reduction Program and is managed as part of SLFNHA’s Approaches to Community Wellbeing. For more information please contact Byron Blandon, Harm Reduction Coordinator by e-mail: , or by phone at 807 737-5643 .
On October 29, 2016, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity held a Truth and Reconciliation Summit for participants to learn about and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action. If you missed the live stream, keynote speeches and panel discussion are available to watch in the video at this website: https://www.banffcentre.ca/truth-and-reconciliation-summit
On April 14, 2016, members of Nishnawbe-Aski Nation and the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority met with the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa, to discuss the delivery of health care to First Nations people in the north. The meeting can be viewed here.