I’m very excited to be writing this update to let the community know what we have been up to at MAX’s Harm Reduction programs and what we are currently working on for the near future.
Tea 2 Go – Harm Reduction Dispensing Program
First of all, we would like to welcome our new Harm Reduction Distribution Worker Torin to the MAX team! He will be taking over the day-to-day operations of our harm reduction supplies distribution and will be helping us reinvigorate our outreach efforts, which hopefully means you will be seeing us out in the community again soon.
We are also excited to announce that we will be adding a fisting guide to our fisting kit, and expanding our harm reduction supply list to include injection Naloxone kits, crack-smoking kits, injection kits, shorts, x-large condoms, and silicone lube. We have a small supply of these to gauge demand in the community before ordering more.
We have also created a new online ordering form that provides additional information about supplies and delivery services. The form is easy to use, simple to update with new product offerings and is mobile-friendly. You will now get an automated email response confirming that your order has been received. We will contact you shortly after confirmation of receipt with the date and time your order will be ready.
After the ParTy, our 8-week program for guys into guys looking to stop their meth use and reconnect with their sexuality without meth is happening again this fall and will be running again in the spring of 2022 (2 program intakes per year)
We will also be expanding to re-launch Odyssey next year. Odyssey is our 6-week substance use change program that uses motivational interviewing to help participants meet their own varied goals. This can include making changes in the frequency of consumption, what you consume, how you consume, or any other change goal. This will be running twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Tea Party, which is our drop-in support group for guys who PnP, or party n’ play, has been put on hiatus for the time being. We have decided to hire a second co-facilitator from the community so that I can step away from the group and it can be run by guys from the PnP community.
While Tea Party is on hold we still want to make sure that guys who PnP have access to support. That’s why we have partnered with our Peer Support Program to offer one-on-one peer support so that if you want to talk about a PnP experience with someone with lived experience, you will be able to. Information will be on our Harm Reduction page shortly.
Our monthly virtual Naloxone and the self-guided Naloxone training previously focused on the nasal spray version but now is going to include training around injection Naloxone. This coincides with our expansion of supplies that will include injection Naloxone. Either Naloxone kit you order through Tea 2 Go will now have its own customized training available to you.
In other Harm Reduction news
We have been making some big changes to the look of the Harm Reduction Program. After our presentation with Stimulus, it was made clear that our use of the name Spill the Tea during our bar night and education program was culturally insensitive and appropriative. Spill the Tea originates from African American Vernacular English. The particular use of the phrase within the context of substance use and PnP further reinforces oppressive notions that link substance use to black communities.
We have taken the concerns to heart and are working on a rebrand of Spill the Tea. As much as we want this change to be immediate, we also want to do it right. This will be part of the harm reduction programs getting a new cohesive visual identity. Something that says “This is MAX’s harm reduction programs and everyone is welcome”, while also keeping in mind the variety of different communities our harm reduction programs aim to serve.
If you have any feedback, questions, or concerns about our harm reduction programs, you can always email the Harm Reduction Programs Coordinator, Mat Adams at m.adams@maxottawa. We also have a survey option you can use here if you want to give us feedback but prefer to remain anonymous.
Thanks so much and we look forward to seeing you all soon!
MAX’s Harm Reduction Team