WHAT IS HARM REDUCTION?
Harm reduction refers to policies, programs, and practices that work to reduce the harms associated with the use of substances for people who choose to continue to use substances or are unable to stop. Harm reduction focuses on preventing harm, rather than stopping substance use.
PRINCIPLES OF HARM REDUCTION
- Be Practical
- What does this person want and what are they able to do in this moment?
- Keeping the focus on harms, rather than the substance use.
- Address the harms by providing strategies to reduce the person’s risk of harm. (e.g. not using alone, going low and slow and carrying a naloxone kit)
- Recognizing human rights; everyone has the right to:
- Be Safe
- Be treated with respect and dignity
- Prioritizing the person’s immediate needs and goals
- LISTEN to their goals and find ways to support them to achieve those goals.
- Embracing opportunities to maximize the intervention keeping in mind various ways you can provide support
- Every time we have the chance to talk about how to reduce someone’s risk we are maximizing the intervention.
- Involving people who use substances
- ASK questions, LISTEN, and strategize TOGETHER on how to reduce the person’s risk of harm.