Toward the Heart Logo

BC Cares About Reducing Harm for People Who Use Drugs

Gathering of Harm Reduction Advocates

Photo: Harm reduction advocates gather at a Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) meeting

Welcome to the Inaugural Issue of our Toward the Heart e-Zine!

The BC Harm Reduction Strategies and Services (HRSS) committee is pleased to present 'Toward the Heart,' our new user-friendly webpage and accompanying e-Zine to highlight the latest information on harm reduction principles, policies and programs in British Columbia.

And how best to introduce you to this issue then by letting you know that 96% of British Columbians agree that drug and alcohol addiction is an important public health issue? The HRSS is working, alongside people who use drugs, to help address this public health concern. We aim to improve the quality of life of people who use drugs by keeping people with addiction safe from HIV, hepatitis C, and other co-morbidities associated with drug use. 

In this issue, you can read more about the provincial harm reduction program and get updates on the latest harm reduction projects in BC. We have highlighted some of our latest research including our BC Attitudes Towards Harm Reduction Activities Survey and our Youth Injection Prevention Project. We continue to improve harm reduction distribution and accountability by reviewing the annual ordering by each site and adding to our list of supplies.

Jane BuxtonWe would like to thank those who have helped us with our initiatives over the past year. We hope you all find our new webpage and our e-Zines informative.

If you have ideas, thoughts, or comments, please contact your local representative or email us at: Your input is much appreciated.

- Jane Buxton
Physician Epidemiologist, Harm reduction lead

HRSS Committee

The Harm Reductions Strategies and Services (HRSS) Committee was formed to improve the health and support people who use drugs, their families, and their communities. The Committee includes representatives from all five BC regional Health Authorities, First Nations & Inuit Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the BC Ministry of Health, and people who use drugs.

Our purpose is to reduce drug-related harms such as injury and death, including the transmission of diseases through the sharing of drug paraphernalia. We work to improve access to harm reduction supplies and services, reduce barriers to health and social services, and raise awareness of harm reduction principles and programs in British Columbia.

For information about harm reduction resources in your community, contact your nearest health unit, or ask a trusted health care or service provider for help. You can also talk with us online by visiting our Facebook Page and Twitter.

76% of BC'ers support harm reduction strategies for people who use drugs

Attitudes Towards Harm Reduction

A recent survey by the HRSS asked British Columbians about their attitudes toward harm reduction activities. The findings showed that 76% of randomly surveyed British Columbians supported harm reduction activities in their communities. Women and younger individuals are more likely to support harm reduction, and safer injecting equipment is more widely supported than safe inhalation equipment, a newer intervention.

The high level of support for harm reduction services in BC is very promising. The variation in support by demographic factors such as age suggests a need for tailored knowledge exchange with different groups. The lack of support for newer harm reduction initiatives, like safe inhalation equipment, indicates a need for education about the value of these interventions.

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