Harm reduction is the polices, programs, and practices that aim to minimize the health and social harms resulting from a behaviour. Most often, the term is used to talk about initiatives that reduce the harms associated with substance use. However, harm reduction also includes: wearing a helmet when riding your bike, wearing sunscreen, and wearing a seatbelt. Harm reduction does not require people to stop doing the behaviour, but rather works to make it safer or less risky.
Local harm reduction programs and services include:
- Issuing community drug alerts
- Supervised Consumption Services (also known as Consumption & Treatment Services)
- Distribution of safer injection, safer inhalation, and wound care supplies
- Distribution of take-home Naloxone
- Overdose prevention training and education
- Advocacy for safer public policy
How Can I Reduce My Risk of a Drug Poisoning?
- Don’t use drugs alone
- Ask someone to check on you or call the National Overdose Response Service (1-888-688-6677)
- If you use with a friend, do not use at the exact same time
- Carry a naloxone kit. Keep it visible, nearby, and know how to use it
- Avoid mixing drugs
- “Start low, go slow” – use a small amount first to test your drug
Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose/poisoning. To learn more about naloxone, visit our opioids webpage.
Safer Inhalation & Injection Supplies
Free injection and smoking supplies are available at various locations throughout Peterborough. Never share or reuse harm reduction equipment. Using new supplies every time you use drugs can help reduce your risk of disease and injury.
- Where to Pick-Up Injection and Inhalation Supplies Locally
- Where to Access Harm Reduction Supplies Across Ontario
- Found Needles – map of disposal boxes, how to dispose safely
Consumption and Treatment Services Sites
Consumption and Treatment Services sites (CTSs) are health services that provide a safe, clean space for people to consume pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of health professionals. CTS sites also provide safer injection and smoking supplies, education, and connections to other services and supports.