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Harm Reduction Guidelines

The resources on this page include manuals, newsletters, decision support tools and links to other harm reduction websites.

Reducing harm

Toward the Heart is our main harm reduction website. It features support for registered sites, health professional resources and a staff area. It also includes topic sections on reducing harm, naloxone programs, overdose and working together. 

See the Join Us page to sign up for email updates about Toward the Heart and other harm reduction news in British Columbia.

Main sections 


  • registered sites support – materials for harm reduction, take-home naloxone and facility overdose response sites registered in one of our programs, as well as how to become a registered site
  • health professional resources – information sheets, best practice, policies and procedures, guidelines and recommendations, and reports and research
  • staff area – secure area for members of the Drug Overdose & Alert Partnership (DOAP), Harm Reduction Strategies &  Services (HRSS)  and Peer Engagement & Evaluation Project (PEEP) committees

Topic sections

Reducing harm

  • Describes harm reduction and its benefits; includes a harm reduction site finder  
  • Provides tips for safer sex and safer drug use
  • Includes the “Share Stories, Not Needles” video
  • Provides tips on safer injection and safer smoking
  • Links to Smart Sex Resource
  • Describes safer injection, inhalation and sex supplies, including how to facilitate use of each product and how to order it.

Naxolone Programs

  • Includes the “Naloxone Saves Lives” video
  • Describes the Take Home Naloxone program, including a description of Naloxone and how to get a Take Home Naloxone kit
  • Describes the Facility Overdose Response Box (FORB) program and how to become a FOB site
  • The training and resources section links to the Take Home Naloxone training website, and includes teaching materials, videos and posters and other resources (signs, postcards, inserts, a overdose survival guide, infographics) on naloxone and overdose.


  • Includes how to recognize and respond (“Know the Signs, Know the Response”) to three kinds of overdose caused by 1) opiods 2) stimulants 3) alcohol
  • Comprehensive page on fentanyl, including “Know Your Source” video

Working Together

  • Information for people who use substances, including alerts, overdose prevention site finder and updates
  • Peer engagement page with background and descriptions of Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement initiative (CIE), including their reports, and the previous group, Peer Engagement and Evaluation Project (PEEP), and the current group, the PEEP Consultation and Advisory Board
  • Reducing Stigma page includes how to use respectful, non-stigmatizing language when describing substance use disorders, addiction and people who use drugs and the Compassionate Engagement Modules, a series of interactive case studies about stigma and discrimination experienced by people who use drugs
  • The BC Overdose Action Exchange page includes background on this group as well as reports on their first and second annual meetings
  • Includes the “10 Key Actions” video and interactive infographic (very detailed), the “More than just a drug problem” quote from Mark Tyndall and banner with three links to  “successful models” stories (Resist Stigma, Managed Alcohol Programs, SACY). 

Clinical Information Sheets

Harm Reduction Strategies & Services newsletter

Best practice for programs

For parts 1 and 2 of the document Best Practice Recommendations for Canadian Harm Reduction Programs that Provide Service to People Who Use Drugs and are at Risk for HIV, HCV, and Other Harms see the Strengthening Programming section of CATIE, Canada's official "knowledge broker" for HIV and hepatitis C.

Overdose prevention  

For our overdose research, see Harm Reduction Studies. This page includes:

  • our 2014 study on communicating drug alerts
  • our 2010 study on contaminated cocaine

For our overdose surveillance reports, see Overdose Reports.

Health authority overdose programs

BC health authorities are all working on overdose response.


SOURCE: Harm Reduction Guidelines ( )
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