Harm reduction is an approach to program development and community care that aims to minimize risks, particularly those associated with substance use, by “meeting people where they’re at” and supporting their own self-identified health goals. This online course will provide an overview of the history and principles of harm reduction within the Canadian context, information about harm reduction based services, and specific strategies for engaging with people who use substances through the lens of harm reduction.
- Describe the historical and policy context of harm reduction based services in Canada.
- Identify how the principles of harm reduction intersect with our own personal values.
- Recognize the role of harm reduction within the continuum of care.
- Identify when engagement through a harm reduction approach provides therapeutic benefit to individuals/clients.
- Describe harm reduction based services including naloxone kits, safer smoking/injection/sex supplies, and supervised consumption services, including how to utilize, access, or refer clients to these services.
Claire O’Gorman is a Registered Nurse with a Masters’ Degree in Public Health and an interest in working at the intersection of health and justice. She has worked alongside community agencies, researchers, and individuals with lived experience to plan, implement, and evaluate harm reduction and community-led initiatives in both Vancouver and Calgary.