Harm reduction for people who use drugs

Harm reduction refers to the evidence-based policies, programs and practices that aim to minimize the negative impacts of drug use, and focuses on working with people without judgment or requiring that they stop using drugs in order to receive support. – Adapted from Harm Reduction International.

At Casey House we believe that reducing the risks of drug use through harm reduction in a judgment-free environment is an essential health service.

Harm reduction often includes services such as access to safer drug use supplies, safer supply prescribing, and supervised consumption services, but it is much broader than service delivery; meaningful and effective harm reduction requires a philosophy of judgment-free, culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care.

Casey House has a proud history of delivering holistic health care for people who use drugs, and current services include our on-site supervised consumption services (SCS) (see a video tour), harm reduction supplies distribution program, day health program nursing clinic, and provision of naloxone kits to reverse overdoses. In addition to providing and expanding access to services, we continuously take steps to further embed the principles of harm reduction throughout our organization. Ongoing efforts include integrating peer support, building the knowledge and capacity of all hospital employees, and operating a staffing model for hospital reception that intentionally facilitates engagement and safety for everyone who receives and provides care.