What is harm reduction?
Harm reduction is any step taken towards improving the health and wellness of individuals and their communities. Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to reduce the health, social and economic consequences of substance/drug use without necessarily reducing the amount of drugs or substances the person uses. Harm reduction benefits the person who uses drugs, their families and the community. It can help our communities connect and understand more about substance use and the role we can play in supporting our communities to stay healthy.
Harm reduction practices:
- Provide access to services to all members of the community
- Connect and care for those who use substances
- Reduce sexually transmitted infections
- Help reduce drug related harms including: infections, the spread of disease and the number of deaths due to overdose
Fraser Health supports needle distribution not needle exchange as an evidence-based strategy to improve health as directed by the Provincial Harm Reduction Strategies and Services program. Learn more about the difference between needle exchange and distribution.