Harm Reduction

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction refers to ways that aim to reduce the harms associated with substance use (e.g., alcohol, cannabis and other drugs).

Harm reduction:

  • is about meeting people where they are at and supporting them to work towards their goals;
  • aims to decrease negative health, social and economic outcomes – such as death, disease and injury;
  • represents policies, strategies, services and practices, which aim to assist people to live safer and healthier lives;
  • acknowledges that each person is different, has different goals and needs different supports and strategies;
  • enhances the ability of people who use substances to have more control over themselves, their families, and their communities; and
  • is not focused on the reduction of substance use and/or abstinence as necessary to receive respect, compassion or services.