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Cynthia Horvath, RN, BScN, MScN, CCHN(C)

Clients who inject drugs are at particular risk of blood-borne illness, injury and overdose. Yet they rarely access health services. In 2012, Cynthia Horvath and other members of the Site Needle and Syringe Program at Ottawa Public Health created the Peer Overdose Prevention Program (POPP), providing individuals who inject drugs with overdose prevention training and a take-home naloxone kit. Nurses like Cynthia have played an important role in building relationships of trust with clients who use drugs and ensuring that health services are both evidence based and accessible. Since the program’s launch, over 120 individuals in Ottawa have reported the administration of naloxone to a peer who was overdosing.