Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction is a health-centered approach with the goal of reducing the health and social harms related to substance misuse.  Harm reduction focuses on reducing the spread of communicable diseases, preventing overdose deaths, increasing a substance user’s contact with health care services or treatment programs and reducing consumption of drugs on the street.  Harm reduction is not a zero tolerance approach; harm reduction policies and practices take a value-neutral stance on drug use and the drug user.  Some examples of harm reduction services include “Smart Serve” programs for restaurants that serve alcohol, needle exchange programs, safe injection sites and methadone maintenance programs.