The first method used by L’Anonyme to reach out to the targeted populations was through outreach intervention on a mobile medical bus. Still today, it allows us to move around and get near living environments, in strategic stops, in order to reach at risk populations.
The workers initiate contact with the individuals they meet through the distribution and exchange of protective equipment, among other things, in order to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBIs). That privileged contact is then used as a lever for intervention, that is to say, it represents an occasion to build trust with the users of our services and to talk about sexual practices or safer drug use in the interests of consistency with the harm reduction approach.
The bus runs according to two different schedules: in the evening and at nighttime. During the night shift, we are mostly in the central neighbourhoods of the city such as Downtown, Centre-Sud, the Village and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The populations we are working with often face multifaceted challenges like drug addiction, homelessness, unnecessary litigation, violence, and suffer from mental or physical health problems. The interventions are educational and preventive in nature, avoiding any judgment. At night, the people can also reach us using the toll-free hotline on board the bus. When asked, we can then move to an outlying neighbourhood.
Five nights a week, the bus visits more outlying districts in order to welcome a younger population. At this moment, during the evening shift, the bus travels to Saint-Michel, Côte-des-Neiges, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Mercier, Rivière-des-Prairies, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Kirkland, Dorval, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, as well as Pointe-Claire. The meeting points with the population are mostly near parks, high schools, metro stations and other areas frequented by young people, with STBIs prevention in mind. The main topics discussed concern sexuality, contraception, school dropouts, street gangs, romantic relationships, and racial profiling. The young people we meet are often from different cultural communities.
We can also count on the regular presence of nurses on the bus when we are in Saint-Michel, Mercier, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Rivière-des-Prairies and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, in order to provide screening, vaccination and basic care services.
Since June 19, 2017, after years of collaboration between different instances, and in partnership with the CIUSSS of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, L’Anonyme patrols the neighbourhoods of Downtown, Centre-Sud and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in a brand-new bus entirely dedicated to the supervision of drug injection. Indeed, a worker and a nurse welcome 7 nights a week, from 11pm to 5am, anybody who wants to inject their own drug in a legal and safe framework. This type of intervention aims to avoid fatal overdoses, reduce the spread of STBIs, reduce the intravenous injection of drugs in the public space, as well as reduce the number of used injection material that can be found in the public space. For more information, click on the following link: Santé Montréal.