What harm reduction
 

Means to us...

Harm reduction is looking at the big picture, to the systems and policies that create harm for people who use drugs, and working to change those systems. Drug policy, criminalization and the war on drugs have been historically harmful, so dismantling those frameworks is a key part of harm reduction.

Harm reduction is a process, of engaging with peers, policy makers, health workers, researchers and activists, to build relationships, listen, and create community-driven social change.

Harm reduction is a practical set of strategies and tools to help people stay safer when engaging in activities that could have risk, like sex and drug use.


features of a

Harm reduction approach:

  • Accepts that sex and drug use are part of our world and works to minimize potential harmful effects

  • Understands drug use as a complex phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviours and acknowledges that some activities and ways of using are safer than others

  • Calls for non-judgmental, non-coercive services and resources to support people who use drugs and their communities in reducing harm

  • Ensures that people who use drugs are meaningfully involved in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them

  • Recognizes that the realities of colonization, poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, homophobia, and other social inequalities affect people’s ability to access services and mitigate harms