Making spaces safer for people who use drugs

There are many harm reduction strategies that can help make environments more supportive for people who use substances. These strategies can help to reduce overdoses and increase safety for people who use substances.

Address stigma on substance use

Stigma impacts the experience of people who use substances and how they access services. Take courses to understand better and engage with people who use substances. 

Resisting Stigma is a free online training module to learn more about stigma and substance use that features the voices of peers.

Offer harm reduction and substance use services

Make harm reduction supplies freely available to people who access your space.  Learn about how to become a Harm Reduction Supply or Take Home Naloxone Site on the Towards the Heart websiteMore substance-use resources and training are available for your team here.

Implement overdose prevention/safety strategies

There are many strategies that service providers can enact to support overdose prevention and increase safety for people who use substances, including the development of overdose prevention and response policies and protocols that are site-specific. More substance-use resources are available for your team here.

Make washrooms safer

Washrooms are frequently used for substance consumption due to the privacy they provide people and because they are simply easily accessible and indoors. It is important to have safer washroom policies and protocols to ensure safe use of washrooms and prevent overdose deaths. Learn more about washroom overdose prevention and substance use safety here.

Create or change policies and protocols on substance use

Providing people with a safe space to use substances on-site reduces the risk of using alone and allows people to feel more welcome to access other services within the space. Any site can provide on-site overdose prevention services. Learn more about how to make a plan for on-site/episodic overdose prevention services at your site here.