What is Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction is a public health measure which aims to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of risky behaviours (substance use, unprotected sex etc.) from a nonjudgmental point of view.

Basic Concepts

  • Focuses on reducing the harm associated with drug use and sexual activity in order to minimize negative effects on individuals, families and communities.
  • Considers substance use as a public health and human rights issue, not a criminal one.
  • Neither promotes substance use nor judge’s substance use as good or bad.
  • Acknowledges that stopping substance use may not be realistic for some users.
  • Works from a client centered approach.
  • Provides practical strategies for reducing risks and harms associated with drug use and sexual activities.
  • No person should be denied access to services because of their drug use.
  • Balances costs and benefits.
  • Attempts to promote and facilitate access to care for substance use and mental health concerns.
  • Engages people who use drugs in a continuum of care from which they would otherwise be excluded.

Examples of Harm Reduction

  • Needle and Syringe exchange.
  • Safer crack use pipes.
  • Nicotine patches/gum.
  • Peer outreach and education.
  • Methadone and other prescribing.
  • Condom and lube distribution.
  • Tolerance zones and safe use rooms.
  • Change in drug laws/policies.
  • Info on overdose and health risks associated with different substances.

Program Vision

To prevent HIV transmission and minimize the negative consequences among people who use drugs and to provide practical support to people who are at risk.

Program Goal

To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among vulnerable populations within the Region of Peel.

Program Services

Focusing on reducing harms to individuals, family and community, PHAN started its injection drug use outreach program in 1998. Our outreach programs include: Needle exchange, condom and lube distribution, information and education about safer needle use and sex, street and prescription drug information, counseling, peer education programming, referrals to addiction services, housing, HIV testing and other services. All services are free and confidential.

For more information or for Harm Reduction based addictions counselling/referrals and support,

Please Contact

Adam Chalcraft, Harm Reduction Coordinator

Phone: (905)-361-0523 Ext: 217. Mobile (905)-781-0223

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