Harm Reduction in Canada – What Governments Need to Do Now

Canada is in urgent need of comprehensive harm reduction policy that jettisons the failed, costly model of drug prohibition that has ravaged so many lives, from fueling the spread of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), to contributing to over-incarceration, to creating conditions for the ongoing epidemic of overdose fatalities. A harm reduction approach must include measures to reduce the harm sometimes associated with various substances (legal or illegal), and also a commitment to end the harms produced by the existence and enforcement of punitive drug laws and policies. Drug policy must be guided by evidence, public health objectives and a commitment to upholding the human rights of people who use drugs. The federal government can and should act now on several fronts to protect the health and human rights of all Canadians, particularly those most at risk of harms.

Harm Reduction in Canada

What Governments Need to Do Now

  1. Scale up overdose response  measures
  2. Improve access to treatment for opioid dependence
  3. Rapidly expand access to life-saving safer consumption services
  4.  Implement comprehensive harm reduction  in prisons
  5. Fund harm reduction, including community-based responses
  6. End the “war on drugs” and the criminalization of people who use drugs

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Written by – the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, the HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction International