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Top 6: August 3rd 2022

Safe Health Site Timmins: SHST Just Got Real

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Top 6: August 3rd 2022
Timmins, Ontario is getting its ‘SHST’ together in the difficult fight against the opioid poisoning crisis, thanks to the new Safe Health Site Timmins (more commonly known as SHST). The safe injection and treatment site recently enlisted Toronto agency The Garden to create a provocative campaign to educate Timmins residents on how it plans to help the community at large. The northern Ontario city of 41,000 has become the epicentre of Canada’s opioid crisis in recent years, with one of the country’s highest per capita death rates from opioids (72 people per 100,000) and an 82% increase in opioid-related deaths between 2019 and 2020. To combat the growing prevalence of opioid use, local emergency room doctor Louisa Marion-Bellemare and her medical colleague Dr. Julie Samson supported the opening of SHST, an urgent public needs site, also known as safe consumption site or overdose-prevention site. The facility will be overseen by Timmins and District Hospital, supported by other community agencies. But it has also experienced pushback from segments of the community, who say it will keep people addicted to drugs and serve as a beacon for ‘druggies’ (their words). While such NIMBY-ism is not uncommon or unexpected, this type of pushback can be more acutely felt in a smaller, tight-knit centre like Timmins.That is the basis for The Garden’s ‘Know Your SHST’ awareness campaign, which uses the facility’s distinctive SHST acronym to deliver bold messages using common sh*t idioms to educate Timmins residents about safe injection sites and disabuse them of common misconceptions around the facilities. Constructed around the idea of contrasting myths versus facts, the campaign is designed to spark curiosity among residents who feel they already have all the answers, enabling them to see the benefits a safe health site can bring to the broader community. The ads take a matter-of-fact approach to safe consumption and treatment sites, designed to help them stand out from the wave of healthcare messages that have characterised covid awareness and other PSA campaigns.
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Communications Specialist: Kaleigh Russell

Manager of Addictions Program: Patrick Nowak

Lead Physician: Dr. Louisa Marion Bellemare

Lead Physician: Dr. Julie Samson


Chief Strategy Officer: Shari Walczak

Design Director: Adriana Ivory

Strategy Director: Jenn Munoz

Business Lead: Amir Kolia

Project Lead: Julia Zammit

Studio Director: Jamie Morren

Editor: Brett Erina


Media Agency: Cairns Oneil

Managing Director: Tim Hughes

Digital Manager: Rachel Schmidt

Communications Planner: Kiran Gill

Communications Coordinator: Michele Dela Cruz

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