What Is Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction can be used as an umbrella term for programs, policies and practices that aim to reduce the negative consequences associated with behaviors that are typically considered high risk.

It involves a range of non-judgmental approaches and strategies aimed at providing and enhancing the knowledge, skills, resources and supports for individuals, their families and communities to make informed decisions to be safer and healthier. Therefore, meeting people where they are at rather than suggesting people completely stop a harmful activity by using abstinence. 

Harm reduction is used in many areas of public health. For example, laws requiring seat belt use reduces the harms caused by car accidents. Safe sex campaigns are also a forum of Harm Reduction in our community. 


The most well known use, however, is in reducing the harms of substance use. Indigo promotes harm reduction strategies to approach the use of recreational drugs and the harmful risks that can be associated within the festival and night life environment. In a recent poll by #sexgerms over 30% of Albertan's have used a party/club drug to enhance their sexual pleasure.  

Do you call a cab when you have been drinking alcohol? Congratulations you are reducing harm! 


  This cartoon  originally came from the  Robot Hugs webcomic , and we are reposting it here under a Creative Commons license.

This cartoon originally came from the Robot Hugs webcomic, and we are reposting it here under a Creative Commons license.