Trauma-Informed Practice and the Opioid Crisis

Cover Opioid-TIP-Guide

Research continues to show us that many people with substance use concerns, including problems with opioid use, have current or past experiences of trauma and violence.

Trauma-informed practice is a movement or way of working that recognizes the prevalence and impact of trauma on the lives of those accessing health care and social services.

I had the great opportunity to develop this new resource on trauma-informed practice and the opioid crisis with the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health and a lovely group of service providers, researchers, and policy makers across BC.

While the main audience for the resource is service providers – primary health care providers, hospital emergency departments, first responders, shelter workers, clinicians in the mental health and substance use fields, outreach workers, peer support workers – it might also be of interest to anyone interested in learning more about different approaches to addressing the opioid crisis, including exploring the links between physical and psychological pain.

You can download the resource from the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health here.

Trauma Effects CEWH


SisterSpace Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver, BC

SisterSpace cover

SisterSpace is Canada’s first and only women-only overdose prevention site. This harm reduction program opened in May 2017 in response to the opioid crisis. It is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and is run in partnership by Atira Women’s Resource Society, Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Housing, BC Women’s Hospital, and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

I had the opportunity to be involved with an evaluation of the program’s early beginnings and to learn about what’s working and what might be improved. The program is a great example of a harm reduction program that considers how women’s needs might differ from men’s and the role of a women-only space in creating a more accessible and safe program.

Learn more about the program in the infographic below and check out Atira’s website for links to the evaluation report and media coverage.

SisterSpace infographic_Sept 2017