How Does Harm Reduction Work?

What Is Harm Reduction?

A health promotion approach that aims to decrease the negative consequences of risk behaviour.

Harm reduction is the attempt to keep people as safe and healthy as possible in their given practices and lifestyle realities. It stems from the realization that drug use and other high risk behaviours are engrained in society. By providing and enhancing knowledge, skills, resources and support, we hope to reduce the harm done to those engaging in these behaviours and the overall community.

Examples of Harm Reduction in Our Community

  • Operation Red Nose
  • TRAC Youth Outreach
  • PARTY Program
  • Safe Grad
  • Needle Exchange Program
  • M.U.S.T (Mobile Urban Street Team)
  • Helmets (bike, motorcycle)
  • Seatbelt Legislation

Lethbridge Needle Exchange

Active Participants in the Community Based Needle Exchange Program

  • PHARMASAVE
    Draffin’s Pharmacy
    319 – 5 Street S
    403-327-3364
  • Northbridge Pharmacy
    722 – 23 Street N.
    403-329-1211
  • Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre
    802 – 2A Avenue N.
    403-327-1031

In partnership with the Lethbridge HIV Connection and Alberta Health Services, Sexual Health Centre. For more information phone 403-328-8186.

Needle Drop Locations

For safe disposal of used needles, please visit any of the following locations:

  • The Lethbridge HIV Connection –  1206 – 6 Ave South
  • London Road Park –  7 St & 7 Ave South
  • Behind the YMCA – 515 Stafford Dr South
  • The Corner of Lakeside & Mayor Magrath Drive – By the 7-11
  • Galt Gardens – Downtown, byt the park washrooms
  • Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre – 802 – 2 A Ave North
  • Mobile Urban Street Team (MUST) Van
  • Nicholas Sheran Arena –  Behind the South East Corner
  • Behind the Greyhound Terminal – 5th Ave South, Downtown

The Lethbridge HIV Connection also distributes FREE Sharps Containers in an assortment of sizes for safe  needle disposal at home. Once full, we will happily take the containers back for proper destruction and issue a new Sharps container.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tap on any of the questions below to see the answer.

Why do we need harm reduction plans?

Harm reduction strategies reduce the physical, social and economic consequences of risk behaviours.

Why does this harm reduction plan entail?

  • Distribution of clean needles, swabs, and sharp disposal containers.
  • Safe disposal of dirty/used needles.
  • Condom distribution.
  • Provision of risk-reduction information.
  • Connecting injection drug users with community resources.

What are the myths of needle exchange harm reduction plans?

  • Facilitates substance use.
  • Supports addicts to continue addictive behaviour.
  • Simply distributes clean needles.
  • “If you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy.

What are the key benefits of needle exchange harm reduction plans?

  • Provides community services to hard-to-reach individuals.
  • Can help motivate individuals towards positive changes through small steps.
  • Improves the health and safety of individuals and your community.
  • Prevention of health problems, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, thus reducing health care expenditures.

What are the goals of our needle exchange harm reduction plan?

  • To increase community awareness and understanding of the balance between enabling a risk behaviour and reducing the harm associated with that behaviour (prevent a problem from getting worse).
  • To increase opportunities for implementing the “Harm Reduction” model into service delivery.
  • To increase the linkages between Harm Reduction services through a shared broader vision.