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Harm Reduction

Harm reduction practices are evidence-based public health policies and strategies designed to reduce the harms associated with drug use and other high risk activities.

There are many different harm reduction strategies that range from safer drug use to drug abstinence. Harm reduction strategies recognize drug use as a complex, multi-faceted issue and seeks to minimize the harmful effects of drug use rather than to judge, condemn or ignore it. 

The Northwestern Health Unit distributes resources, condoms, needles and drug preparation equipment for harm reduction. The goal is to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne infections (BBIs) through unprotected sex and the sharing of needles and other drug preparation equipment.

In addition to the services below, the health unit provides community education and referrals to other community agencies. 

Needle exchange 
Sterile needles, syringes and safer drug preparation equipment to drug users.

Safe needle disposal
Found a discarded needle? Learn the steps for safely disposing of a used needle.

Preventing an Overdose
Learn more about programs in place to reduce the number of drug overdoses and deaths from overdoses in the region.

Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose. Learn where you can get a kit to perhaps save a life.

Opioids in Our Communities

Know the stats and stay up to date with the latest information about opioids and overdose in our region.

Testing and counseling
HIV and Hepatitis B and C prevention, testing and counseling 

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Public Health Question
  • Q:
    How much alcohol can I drink without harming my health?
    ​Drinking is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, following Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines is the best way to limit your intake and decrease the negative health effects of alcohol consumption. The guidelines recommend that: ...