Assessing support for supervised injection services among community stakeholders in London, Canada

Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Oct;48:27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.009. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


Objectives: Few qualitative studies have examined support for supervised injection services (SIS), and these have been restricted to large cities. This study aimed to assess support for SIS among a diverse representation of community stakeholders in London, a mid-sized city in southwestern Ontario, Canada.

Methods: This qualitative study was undertaken as part of the Ontario Integrated Supervised Injection Services Feasibility Study. We used purposive sampling methods to recruit a diversity of key informants (n=20) from five sectors: healthcare; social services; government and municipal services; police and emergency services; and the business and community sector. Interview data, collected via one-to-one semi structured interviews, were coded and analyzed using thematic analyses through NVivo 10 software.

Results: Interview participants unanimously supported the implementation of SIS in London. However, participant support for SIS was met with some implementation-related preferences and/or conditions. These included centralization or decentralization of SIS; accessibility of SIS for people who inject drugs; proximity of SIS to interview participants; and other services and strategies offered alongside SIS.

Discussion: The results of this study challenge the assumptions that smaller cities like London may be unlikely to support SIS. Community stakeholders were supportive of the implementation of SIS with some preferences or conditions. Interview participants had differing perspectives, but ultimately supported similar end goals of accessibility and reducing community harms associated with injection drug use. Future research and SIS programming should consider these factors when determining optimal service delivery in ways that increase support from a diversity of community stakeholders.

Keywords: Canada; London; Mid-sized cities; Stakeholder opinion; Supervised consumption facilities; Supervised injection services; Support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Harm Reduction*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / organization & administration*
  • Ontario
  • Qualitative Research
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*