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
Harm Reduction Resources:
America’s native prisoners of War. Aaron Huey.
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong, Johann Hari (2015).
Addiction, based on the Hari Ted Talk
"Lets Stop Abusing Drug Users" Dr. Carl Hart. (2015).
Damage Done: The Drug War Odyssey (2006).
Canadian Harm Reduction Network
International Harm Reduction Association
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
International Drug Policy Consortium
Addictions Foundation of MB
Canadian HIV/AIDS Treatment and Information Exchange
Toward the heart
Honouring our strengths
BC Centre of Excellence in Women's Health
Gender Informed approaches to substance use resource list
Harm Reduction and pregnancy
WRHA- WRHA Position Statement