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Toward the Heart: A Year Later

Dr. Jane Buxton receives a gift from the BC Harm Reduction Strategies and Services Committee to congratulate her on receiving the recent Provincial Health Officer’s Award.

On April 1, 2012, the provincial Harm Reduction committee launched Toward the Heart, a website serving as an online portal for the latest harm reduction information in BC. This includes current news and alerts, a catalogue of supplies, links to BC guidelines, training materials, local research and more. We also set up an email list and Facebook and Twitter channels to facilitate a two-way knowledge exchange with our stakeholders. Please continue to give us feedback and share our posts.

In July, we sent out our first e-Zine issue noting that 78% of randomly surveyed British Columbians supported harm reduction activities in their communities. An almost unanimous 96% agree that drug and alcohol addiction is an important public health issue. A year later, we still find this high level of support very encouraging and continue to look for new ways to engage meaningfully around harm reduction.

In this issue, we update you on harm reduction supplies and their distribution across provincial health authorities. In 2012, the BC Harm Reduction Program distributed almost 7 million needles/syringes, an increase of over a million from the year before. We check in on the Take Home Naloxone pilot program nine months after kick-off and are pleased to announce that 14 overdose reversals have been reported in the first nine months. We also have some new information on our research projects, catching up with our youth co-researchers work on the Youth Injection Prevention (YIP) project and announcing the next annual drug survey with harm reduction clients.

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to another great year empowering individuals, families and communities to be safer and healthier.

If you have ideas, thoughts, or comments, please contact your local representative or email us at:

Year 1 Web Traffic

One year after launching, Toward the Heart’s website had its pages viewed over 27,000 times. We noticed some interesting traffic patterns:

  • Most BC visits came directly to the website and knew the website address
  • The majority of non-BC visits came via search engines
  • Referrals from other sites and email campaigns were a big driver for BC traffic
  • Social media referrals were concentrated in Vancouver and Victoria
  • Organizational websites, specifically the BC Centre for Disease Control, were key access points for cities across the province

This data suggests that when developing online resources, there are regional access patterns that must be considered to reach specific audiences. We hope to continue improving the website experience for all visitors. Thank you to Michaela Montaner for her help in analyzing our communication strategy.

Winner! Dr. Jane Buxton for Excellence in Public Health

Our own Dr. Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead at the BC Centre for Disease Control, has been given the BC Provincial Health Officer's Award for Excellence in Public Health for: "Persistent and pioneering work to bring equitable harm reduction services and supplies to all of British Columbia.”

Jane would like to thank everyone who has contributed this past year to the success of the program. Congratulations one and all!

Brazilian delegates with HRP

In April, we enjoyed a visit with Brazilian delegates who wanted to learn more about BC’s Harm Reduction Program.

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