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Where is Harm Reduction?

Two Jens and a Desiree, Sault Youth Association for local2 sault ste. marie
October 25th, 2011 at 9:58am



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

Harm Reduction is defined as reducing the harm involved while participating in high risk activity. Harm reduction programs do not encourage or promote drug use. These programs provide us with the tools to promote safety. We are given education on safe sex whether or not we are sexually active, in the same sense, we should be given education on safe drug use. We are currently provided with information about safe sex to educate us about the risks of STI’s and pregnancy. Working with the same logic, we should also be given information about the risks involved in unsafe drug use; especially because addiction and overdose are not the only negative consequences.

HARM REDUCTION

Currently, drugs are looked at with a strict “Just Say NO” approach, which is proving to be highly ineffective. When youth are experimenting with different drugs, the message we are continually seeing and hearing is negative. The negative stigma around drug use is preventing us from going out and getting the information we need to protect ourselves from the many risks involved. We need a place to ask questions and be supported rather than only receiving the “drugs are bad” message.

We have harm reduction programs here in Sault Ste Marie that give youth information to help us make safer, informed choices. Although these programs provide education on safer drug use, they also focus on reducing harm in other areas such as sexual activity and high risk behaviours associated with HIV and Hepatitis C transmission.

Education around harm reduction practices and programs give us the tools to make safer choices throughout our lives. Our community needs to remember that drug use is not just something that affects the individual using the drugs, but rather affects the community as a whole.

For more information on harm reduction programs, please contact the Sault Youth Association.

The Sault Youth Association encourages anyone who needs more information about how to access this service please contact Steffanie at steffanie@saultyouthassociation.com or 705-946-1299. Your confidentiality is assured. On October 25th and 26th, the community is invited to learn more about local harm reduction strategies and to address this very critical need at the Mobilizing Community for Youth Strategic Planning Conference. For more information please visit www.saultyouthassociation.com.

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