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Dr. Peter Centre visit to Prairie Harm Reduction

Five years ago, Patrick McDougall, Mark Holland and Rosalind Baltzer Turje visited the Executive Director of Prairie Harm Reduction, Jason Mercredi in Saskatoon, to find out more about the harm reduction work they were doing in their community.

Since then, the DPC’s Knowledge Translation and Evaluation team has worked closely with Prairie Harm Reduction and similar community-based organizations in harm reduction service provision and capacity building. Through this partnership, Prairie Harm Reduction invited KT team members Patrick and Clement Fong back to Saskatoon in March of 2022 to share and showcase their growth since DPC last visited.

Other organizations that joined the tour included the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD) and the National Safer Supply Community of Practice (NSS-CoP). This was a great opportunity for the DPC to connect with organizations we currently work with in the harm reduction sector and continue building our relationships in person.

Patrick and Clem were invited to tour a variety of organizations the Prairie Harm Reduction team had built partnerships with over the last 5 years, where they were able to sit down with the various organizations and learn about what they do to support folks in their community who utilize harm reduction services. Patrick and Clem also took part in shadowing shifts at the Prairie Harm Reduction supervised consumption site (SCS), getting the opportunity to connect with the local drug user networks in the community.

On this trip, CAPUD held a presentation for PHR’s community partners, which focused on the importance of organizing drug user networks, the value of safe supply, and the importance of collaboration between harm reduction services and people who use drugs. Through PHR’s networks, CAPUD also hosted a community meeting with service users where they discussed the community’s needs and advocating for the establishment of local drug user groups.

Not only was this visit to Saskatoon a great opportunity for DPC and fellow organizations to witness the growth and success of Prairie Harm Reduction, but it was also an opportunity for us to finally connect in person and continue to build on the relationships we have fostered throughout the years.