Harm reduction represents policies, strategies, services and practices that help people live safer and healthier lives. It aims to decrease adverse health, social and economic outcomes that may result from risky actions.

It acknowledges that each person is different and requires different supports, strategies and goals. Reducing substance use and/or abstinence is neither expected nor required in order to receive respect, compassion or quality services.

Harm reduction helps people who use substances to:

  • increase control over their lives and their health
  • take protective and proactive measures for themselves, their families and their communities

Examples of harm reduction include, but are not limited to: