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Since April 1, 2020, there have been an estimated 132 reported opioid overdose deaths in  Toronto. That is more than double the number reported for the same period in 2019. At a time  where Canadians are living crises within crises, the need for helping hands is now. With the  harsh realities of isolation, Breakaway wants to remain a valuable ally amidst growing  uncertainty. Doing this means giving our clients all the support they deserve; securing housing  amidst disadvantage, providing safer use equipment, making sure our space stays standing, and  enabling our clients to make healthier choices, all at no cost to them. Keeping our programs running within a community free of stigma and judgment, breaking barriers, and restructuring narratives around substance use and community starts with positioning support and care as paramount. We need your help to continue doing this. Please consider supporting our work as we continue to support our community. 

To make a donation, please visit online or text ‘BREAKAWAY’ to 30333

Thank you. 

Ongoing Initiatives to highlight: 

The need for Grief and Loss responses for Harm Reduction workers is heavy, and only exacerbated by COVID and the housing crisis. We know that when we lose community members, the response is normally patchwork and heavily dependent on the very community that is impacted by the loss. Research shows that there is a link between grief and substance use, and as the drug poisoning crisis intensifies and losses mount, we anticipate further overdoses and loss if such grief is left untended. Despite this fact, there is a lack of trauma informed supports from a Harm Reduction perspective for front line workers in Toronto. 

The Breakaway TGL team, are building a network of support for Harm Reduction workers in Toronto. The Network has plans for collaboration in order to support and empower harm reduction workers to foster self-determined healthy relationships with grief and loss connected to the drug poisoning crisis by enhancing capacity, providing supports and resources, as well as advocating for systems-level change. Some of our short-term activities are/include: 

  • Partnering with the Good Grief and Harm Reduction Healing teams to expand access to support 
  • To conduct an environmental scan of grief and loss services within Toronto 
  • To conduct a survey to determine the kinds of supports and resources that Harm Reduction workers hope to have 
  • To establish networks and partnerships with other Harm Reduction community organizations ∙ To offer capacity-building training sessions to Harm Reduction workers to equip them with HR and AO/AR approaches to grief and loss in their work 
  • To offer weekly group sessions hosted by the Good Grief team, as well as as-needed/ad-hoc groups for community agencies 
  • To offer individual counselling and/or clinical supervision for Harm Reduction workers ∙ To develop educational resources and materials that will facilitate learning about and coming into right relationship grief
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