Harm Reduction Forum 2013

On March 20, 2013 the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy held its 4th annual Harm Reduction Forum at the Italian Canadian Club in Guelph.  More than 200 people from the city of Guelph and the surrounding Wellington County attended the forum that included representatives from a wide variety of professional organizations, volunteer and civic groups, police departments as well as people with lived experience.  The goals of the Forum were to encourage the development of harm reduction programs throughout the Wellington Guelph area, facilitate networking opportunities between service organizations and disseminate information on harm reduction techniques.

Stephanie Baker from the faculty of Social Work at Wilfred Laurier University was the key note speaker and spoke about concurrent disorders of mental health and addictions.  Breakout sessions at the forum covered the topics of Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention, Changing Technology and Gambling Awareness, Reducing Alcohol Related Harm and Trans 201: The Basics and Beyond.  Facilitators for the sessions included staff from Preventing Overdose Waterloo Wellington (POWW), Sanguen Health Centre, Public Health, University of Waterloo, Homewood community Addiction Services, Ontario HIV and Substance Use Training Program, Wesley Urban Ministries and the YMCA.  In the afternoon, Michael Parkinson of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council facilitated a panel discussion on the issue of community based distribution of Naloxone – an overdose reversal medication that will be made available directly to those individuals most at risk in the community.