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Health Authority Community Funds

The Harm Reduction Program provides each of the Health Authorities with funding to support local training, knowledge dissemination, and community development initiatives around  harm reduction. Learn what your health authority is doing to create safer, healthier communities with these funds.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) 

Vancouver Coastal HealthVancouver Coastal Health has created a series of training videos to be used as part of an online training module for VCH staff and harm reduction workers. These videos outline the best-practice guidelines for various harm reduction settings (outreach, peer-based, mobile), as well as instruction on needle safety and population-specific issues that may arise.  In the future, these videos may be easily adapted for use in other health authorities. VCH is also updating the Take Care with Cannabis resource, including new logos on their materials.

They have supported several peer-driven projects, including support and education groups for illicit drinkers, rock users (including a safer crack smoking workshop), and funding of BC Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors AGM.

Interior Health Authority (IHA)

Interior HealthIn collaboration with the Rural Empowered Drug Users Network (REDUN), the Living Positive Resource Centre (LPRC) in Kelowna, and the BC-Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors caravan (a user-led needs assessment project), a campout was organized and funded to bring together drug user activists from across the health region. The objectives of this meet-up were to strengthen linkages between peer-run drug user groups in the Interior Health region, and to catalyze the development of a peer-run drug user group in Kelowna. Discussions identified a number of key needs and possible solutions for drug users in Kelowna, and the Kelowna Area Network of Drug Users (KANDU) was established.  KANDU meets biweekly and “aims to work with community, businesses, government, RCMP, and bylaw to promote the equal treatment of people who use drugs and a healthy and safe community for all.”

Fraser Health Authority (FHA)

Fraser HealthFraser Health sponsored a number of peer engagement opportunities, including biweekly meetings of the Surrey Area Network of Substance Users (SANSU), and several peer meetings of the BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors.  FH looks forward to continuing to facilitate these events and increasing peer-to-peer distribution of harm reduction supplies. 

Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)

Vancouver Island Health AuthorityVancouver Island Health developed and successfully launched a new harm reduction resource series for the Port Alberni area. This community launch included an afternoon of educational events and featured a number of speakers, including the area’s Medical Health Officer. They also collaborated with the Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) in developing “crack pipe craft nights,” an opportunity for people who use drugs to learn and practice assembling a crack pipe, screen and mouthpiece. They can then act as peer educators to teach these skills to other people who use drugs.

The Harm Reduction Strategies and Services Committee provided funds to help facilitate a community meeting regarding Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) at a community organization located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The College of Pharmacist and the College of Physicians were there to talk about British Columbia’s Methadone Maintenance Program and to answer questions from the very people who are part of the methadone program.      

Harm Reduction Milestones

1964 - First Methadone Treatment program began in Canada.

1989 - The City of Vancouver funds a pilot project for needle exchange.

1997 - VANDU (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users) is formed. 

2001 - City of Vancouver's Four Pillar Drug Strategy adopted.

2003 First officially sanctioned Supervised Injection Site (SIS) in North America opens in Vancouver.

2004 - World Health Organization supports provision of sterile injecting equipment to reduce HIV transmission. 

2005 - Enrollment in the North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI) Trial begin.

2007 - "More than just needles" study took place.

2009 - BCCDC adds Harm Reduction webpage. 

2011 - The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rules to uphold Insite’s exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

2012 - Toward the Heart webpage is launched.

Read the full timeline of harm reduction milestones in BC!