Communication and education are a vital part of harm reduction best practices. Photo from the award-winning teaching documentary, Bevel Up: Drugs, Users and Outreach Nursing
From Evidence to Action for Healthier Communities
Drug use practices that can lead to the transmission of HIV, hepatitis and other infections are a critical public health issue affecting communities throughout Canada. International evidence demonstrates that harm reduction programs, such as providing safer injection and inhalation supplies, are a cost-effective way to reduce the rates of infections and other harms. In this e-Zine, we highlight our collaborative efforts for improving opioid safety, including the development of best practice guidelines.
Best Practice Recommendations
Members of the BC Harm Reduction Strategies and Services (HRSS) committee have been working with experts from across the country to develop a comprehensive set of best practice recommendations for Canadian harm reduction programs to ensure that people have access to high-quality harm reduction services based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence. The working group had representatives from across Canada including people from Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (OHRDP), CATIE, STOP HIV/AIDS, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, and other community groups and service providers.
Part 1 of the Best Practice Recommendations has just been released and covers the distribution of injection and smoking equipment, safer drug use education, and opioid overdose prevention and take home naloxone programs. This user-friendly document also provides benchmarks for communities and programs to evaluate those services, and identifies targets for improvement. Part 1 can be accessed on the BCCDC website.
Part 2 is scheduled to be released in late 2014 and will focus on program models, testing and vaccination, first aid, referrals and counseling, and relationships with police and other organizations.
Farewell To A Valued Colleague
We are sad to say goodbye to Despina Tzemis who left the BC HR team to move out east. Thank you for your contributions and best wishes on all your future endeavors at OHRDP!
In her last days, Despina presented with Dr. Jane Buxton at UBC’s Summer Institute on Addiction. They cited evidence that shows a decrease in HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C virus) rates with increased uptake of harm reduction supply distribution across BC, and introduced the audience to BC’s Take Home Naloxone program. It’s been one year since the launch of the BCTHN program, and the recent results of our Stakeholder Evaluation Study show encouraging results.
We’d like to thank all our students and community partners for their hard work in harm reduction programs and supporting these research accomplishments:
- Stakeholder Evaluation Study for the Take Home Naloxone program
- Second Annual Drug Survey
- Studying harm reduction measures of people who consume illicit alcohol in BC
- Finalizing the Youth Injection Prevention study summaries to participating sites
- Publishing the perception of long term crack cocaine use study (Journal of Addiction, 2013)