Supporting the full participation of people who use drugs in policy fora: Provision of a temporary, conference-based overdose prevention site

Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Oct;84:102878. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102878. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


The overdose epidemic in North America remains acute and interventions are needed to mitigate harm and prevent death. People who use/d drugs (PWUD) hold essential knowledge to guide the development of these interventions and conferences are vital fora for hearing their perspectives and building support for new policies and programs. However, little guidance exists on how to best ensure the safety of PWUD during conferences. In October 2018, a low-threshold overdose prevention site (OPS) was implemented at a national drug policy and harm reduction conference in Edmonton, Canada. The OPS provided delegates with a monitored space to consume drugs and access drug consumption supplies. This commentary describes the implementation of the OPS with the aim of providing practical guidance for organizers of future substance use-related conferences, meetings, and other events.

Keywords: Conference; Harm reduction; Overdose prevention site; People who use drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Drug Overdose* / prevention & control
  • Harm Reduction
  • Humans
  • North America
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Policy


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations