We approach health care with an understanding that health is impacted by the broader determinants of health and our work is to provide care within the context of people’s lives, choices, communities and life circumstances. The foundational components which underpin this approach include harm reduction, social justice, and environments of care and relationships which include all, free from stigma and judgment.
Harm reduction to address health and wellness
Casey House works with clients to minimize harms and maximize health. Our harm reduction philosophy recognizes it is not realistic to keep people from engaging in certain activities, and values an individual’s right to make choices for themselves.
The core principle of harm reduction is that it is beneficial to prevent and reduce the harm that can be associated with potentially dangerous behaviours and meet people where they are at. It is commonly associated with drug use, but is much broader than that.
Casey House uses a harm reduction approach to care. To do this, we ensure individuals are cared for in a welcoming environment, free from stigma.
Our work with individuals using substances includes building trusting relationships that enable support and counselling. Activities focus on providing education and information about the risks, along with materials, resources and supports to use more safely as well as the means to make safer choices. Clinicians work with clients to develop strategies to reduce risks to their health and well-being. Practical strategies may include referrals, offering condoms, 24 hour access to safer injection, inhalation and meth kits, Methadone maintenance and offering client training and distribution of Naloxone for overdose situations.
Update (September, 2020): Casey House is working towards adding supervised consumption services exclusively for registered clients. It will be a safe, strictly limited, and medically-supervised program that will act as an extension of our existing hospital services. Learn more Plans for new harm reduction services at Casey House.
April 2021: Read how Casey House has increased access to safer drug use supplies during the pandemic.
“Harm reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to minimise negative health, social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights – it focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support.”
For more information on harm reduction visit:
CATIE: Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange
Public Health Toronto harm reduction supplies and locations