Harm reduction is a client focused, evidence-based approach to substance use. At its core, harm reduction principles recognize that there will always be substance use in society and so there is a need for a public health response to minimize potential harms.
People who use substances are offered a choice of non-judgmental and non-coercive strategies to minimize harms and increase knowledge to live safer and healthier lives.
Examples of harm reduction include using a seatbelt in a car, wearing a bicycle helmet, using substances in a safe place with someone you trust, and needle syringe programs.
As part of the AIDS Committee’s harm reduction strategies, we offer harm reduction supplies to individuals who use substances. The sterile, single use injection and inhalation supplies are free, don’t require a health card or identification.
Contrary to common belief, harm reduction does not support or encourage substance use nor does it negate the role of abstinence in addiction treatment. Harm reduction supports the treatment of people who use substances with respect and dignity and offers a wide variety of treatment options which allow people to make informed decisions that are most effective for them while reducing harm.
Harm reduction also recognizes that substance use treatment is not necessarily the end goal of all clients. We are inclusive and affirming of all people who use substances regardless of their end goal and recognize the benefits that substance use can have in some people’s lives.
Contact our Outreach Team at 705-497-3560, ext. 213 for more information.