Harm reduction promotes policies and programs which attempt primarily to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of mood-altering substances to individual drug users, their families and communities without requiring a decrease in drug use.

All substances have both positive and negative effects. Substance use may affect one’s health and legal vulnerability, and Harm Reduction recognizes that people use drugs for many reasons. Reduction of substance use and/or abstinence is not required in order to receive respect, compassion or services. It is clear that most people who use substances do not experience problems, but in some circumstances, substance use can become dependent and/or chaotic. Harm Reduction enhances the ability of people who use substances to have increased control over their lives and their health, and allows them to take protective and proactive measures for themselves, their families and their communities.