Harm Reduction

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We at the Erie - St Clair Clinic believe in and adhere to the Principles of Harm Reduction by:

  • Accepting that drug use is part of our world by choosing to work to minimize its harmful effects; rather than simply ignore, condemn or require complete abstinence.

  • Understanding drug use as something that is complex and that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and by acknowledging that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.

  • Establishing quality of individual and community life and well-being--not necessarily cessation of all drug use--as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.

  • Calling for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs; to assist them in reducing harm to themselves and to others.

  • Affirming that drug users themselves are the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeking to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.

  • Recognizing that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sexual gender/orientation based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people's vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.

  • Not attempting to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with drug use.


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