Harm Reduction is an evidence-based, client-centred approach that seeks to reduce the health and social harms associated with addiction and substance use, without requiring people who use substances from abstaining or stopping. All of us use harm reduction principles daily; wearing a seatbelt and washing your hands are harm reducing strategies we are all familiar with.
Harm reduction services extend these principles into all activities that people take part in with non-judgemental and all inclusive care while offering education and best practices. The role of harm reduction is to support people and their needs with dignity and respect while meeting the client where they are.
Harm reduction is an essential service that does not presume a specific outcome, like abstinence-based programs, and helps the client make informed decisions about their own health and individual needs while focusing on reducing harm. Harm reduction practices are becoming more popular and are supported by large organizations like UNAIDS, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Health Organization.
Harm reduction saves lives and respects life at the same time.
– Steve Colwell (Harm Reduction Manager)