Harm Reduction

AIDS activists have pushed for laws, policies, and services that treat drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. This approach is confirmed by overwhelming scientific evidence that harm-reduction approaches reduce the health impacts (including HIV) of drug use far more than punitive approaches.

Despite this evidence, governments continue to be unsupportive or outright hostile to harm reduction efforts:

  • Safe needle provision in prisons is still prohibited despite strong evidence that it reduces HIV and HCV transmission
  • Safe needle programs are still unavailable in many communities. Safe crack-use equipment or other harm reduction programs have been limited or canceled.
  • The Harper government continues its efforts to shut down the supervised injection site “Insite” in Vancouver despite local support and scientific evidence of its benefit. Other supervised injections sites have not been developed.
  • The Harper government is aggressively pursuing an “anti-drug” strategy that is heavily weighted on criminal enforcement and penalties and neglects harm-reduction approaches and services.

You can find more about harm reduction here: www.canadianharmreduction.com and about its relation to HIV here: www.aidslaw.ca/EN/issues/drug_policy_harm_reduction.htm