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Harm Reduction Supply Changes

New Supplies & Policies Coming this Spring


New cookerThe HRSS committee approved the provision of cookers with filters starting the next fiscal year. We’ll finish up the existing stock in the warehouse and begin distributing the new cookers. The new cookers will come with a cotton filter and a swab.


Vitamin CThe smallest amount of ascorbic acid should be used to dissolve the drug in order to keep vein damage to a minimum. Feedback from peers and harm reduction workers suggests that 100mg is usually sufficient to dissolve the drug. For this reason, we will be providing sachets with only 100mg of ascorbic acid, instead of the current 300mg packets.


Clear naloxone bottleThe manufacturer has switched from tinted to clear ampoules – same concentration and format but different ingredients, packaging, DIN and codes. This change will affect us starting Spring 2014 as we start distributing the new product.  

Please remind everyone that naloxone is light-sensitive and should be stored in a cool, dark place. For the naloxone kits, the ampuoles are protected from light by the amber pill bottles and surrounding gauze. Clients should be advised to keep the kits away from heat as it may affect the stability and efficacy of the naloxone.


To ensure the equitable distribution of harm reduction supplies to all communities in BC, the HRSS committee has adopted two policies.

1) Notice of volume increase. Sites that intend to make programmatic changes that will drastically increase supply distribution should let their health authority harm reduction coordinators know of these changes 9 months before the changes take place. This will help us prepare and budget for these changes.

2) Safer sex supplies to students. The provincial HR program will continue to provide access to male condoms, female condoms, and lubricant to specialized services at post-secondary institutions. Specialized groups include any entities providing services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, or two-spirited (GLBTQ2S) student population or any other marginalized groups as approved by the HRSS committee — but not general student health services. All campus groups can continue to order other safer inhalation and safer injection supplies.

Refer to the Harm Reduction section on the BCCDC website for additional details.


The Supply Requisition form has been revised to reduce ordering errors. Download the latest version.

Tips to Reduce Waste

Harm reduction supplies have an expiration date. A good management system will help reduce waste and save the program money. Reducing waste means we can do more.

1) Store new products to the back and bring old products to the front. This way you’ll remember to use older products first so they don’t expire.

2) Ensure more than one person is trained and responsible for ordering. It’s best that there is one main person in charge of ordering supplies for consistency and expertise. It also helps when there are others who are prepared to fill in if needed. This ensures that supplies don’t get lost or misplaced if another staff person receives the delivery.

3) Know what to order and how much. You can refer to our harm reduction policy form for more information. We encourage you to order once every three months.

If you’re an authorized site and need help ordering, contact your health authority representative found on the second page of the supply requisition form posted on our website.

Photo: Jane Buxton, Harm Reduction Lead (BCCDC) and Nadia Zurban, Program Manager (OHRDP)

Gathering Wisdom (Oct 2013). Sara Young & Denise Thomas of HRSS committee presented best practice recommendations for harm reduction programs to health workforce at the newly formed First Nations Health Authority.

Issues of Substance (Nov 2013). Jane Buxton & Despina Tzemis presented BC’s strategies for collecting and sharing evidence that supports the growth of harm reduction in BC.

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference (Nov 2013). Ashraf Amlani conducted a THN training workshop.

Public Health Association of BC (Nov 2013). Oluwajenyo Banjo shared perspectives of stakeholders gathered during the qualitative evaluation of the BC Take Home Naloxone program.

BCCDC Research Week. Sonya Ishiguro presented preliminary results from a survey on drug use among harm reduction clients in BC (see page 3 for more).

Matters of Substance

Matters of Substance

The Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) blog discusses harm reduction and topics related to alcohol and cannabis policies.