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Accessing Harm Reduction Supplies

Have clients asked you questions about obtaining harm reduction supplies in BC? Here are some answers for you.

FAQ: Finding Harm Reduction Resources in Your Community

Wherever a person may live in BC, they have the right to access harm reduction resources without discrimination or barriers. Harm reduction distribution sites may be health units, contracted agencies, non-profit organizations, or peer organizations.

There are more than 100 primary suppliers of harm reduction materials around the province, and many more fixed, mobile and temporary event-based distribution sites. We strive to make harm reduction supplies as accessible as possible. To find the nearest service provider, locate your local health unit or talk to a trusted health care or service provider. Both may know of other services in the area that could be of benefit.

Harm reduction activities SAVE MONEY

As a service provider, you may be asked if harm reduction supplies can be given to a family member/friend.

HRSS supports ‘low threshold’ distribution. This means we want people to be able to obtain harm reduction supplies easily and in a way that they do not feel stigmatized. If you are a person seeking HRSS supplies for another person (for instance a friend or partner) you can still receive harm reduction supplies and information to pass on to them.

You may be asked what harm reduction supports and services there are besides equipment. How else do harm reduction sites help people?

 Harm reductions sites can help people find out more information about:

  • Safer sex practices
  • Safer using practices
  • Addictions issues and supports
  • Resources and support services for those suffering domestic abuse
  • Safety information about recreational drug use
  • Culturally competent services and supports for marginalized people
  • Transgender issues and hormone injection practices
  • Identifying health issues
  • Local programs and supports

Also, people are reminded how to safely dispose of needles and other supplies. This helps keep the community clean and safe.

"We deserve a chance"

What to do if a client experiences discrimination when trying to access harm reduction supplies.

If a client's access to HRSS is denied or impeded, you can ask the client to report it to us.

Access to harm reduction supplies should be extended to any person, regardless of age, drug-using strategies, drug of choice, housing situation, or other factors. No one should deny you supplies based on your identity or drug use.

People have the right to access harm reduction supplies without discrimination, judgment or hostility. People have the right to be treated respectfully, and also the responsibility to treat others in the community with respect. People who use drugs have the right to privacy and safety.

1st Needle Exchange in BC: 1989

We now distribute screens for glass stems (crack pipe), and tourniquets. 

A catalogue of all our supplies with descriptions can be found on

What are tourniquets?

TourniquetA tourniquet is an elastic tie that helps raise veins to the surface of the skin, to make injection easier. A tourniquet should be used instead of makeshift tie such as a belt or shoelace, which can cause injury and problems injecting. 

What are crack pipe screens?

Crack Pipe ScreensA screen is made from a small piece of brass with holes, and is fitted between the crack pipe and the rock of crack cocaine. They should be used in place of makeshift screens such as steel wool, which are associated with injury.

Where can clients access these supplies?

Supplies can be found at local harm reduction distribution site or at local Health Units. Find your local health unit on