HARM REDUCTION AT UBCOA Campus Wellness & Education Initiative
We partner with community members to promote socializing, using substances, and supporting loved ones in lower-risk ways
We provide overdose awareness training, teach people how to use naloxone, and distribute free Naloxone kits on campus. Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, methadone, fentanyl and morphine.
Drug checking is a free, confidential service to provide people with information about what is in their drugs and ways to reduce the risk of any associated harms. This service is open to everyone, not jut UBCO students.
Did you know there is a student recovery community at UBC? The student Recovery Community at UBC is for students, by students with lived experience of addiction and recovery. They support all pathways of recovery.
By providing information and support resources to people who use drugs, they can choose to use their substances in a more informed and lower-risk way, helping to prevent overdose and other complications.
“Harm Reduction is an evidence-based, client-centred approach that seeks to reduce the health and social harms associated with addiction and substance use, without necessarily requiring people who use substances from abstaining or stopping” – CMHA
As the toxic drug crisis has continued to worsen across Canada, and especially in BC, we knew that we needed to take creative steps to reduce the harm being caused in our community. In 2020, we formally created our Harm Reduction Team (HaRT) to provide harm reduction (including drug checking services) in the Okanagan. We partner with community members to promote socializing, using substances, and supporting loved ones in lower-risk ways.
HaRT’s mission regarding substance use is to decrease stigma, improve access to supports, and advocate for person-centered policies by developing resources, delivering harm reduction services, and collaborating with stakeholders through the lenses of equity, diversity and inclusion.
BC’s Overdose and Toxic Drug Crisis continues to claim thousands of lives of British Columbians and has only accelerated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 was the deadliest year on record and since 2016 the rate of death due to drug toxicity has increased by more than 400%.
In 2021, 71% of those who died as a result of suspected drug toxicity were between 30 to 59, and 78% were male.
Number of overdose deaths in past year (2021)
Drug toxicity deaths occured in private homes.
Number of lives lost since declaration April 2016
Fentanyl was detected in samples tested in 2021
Drug toxicity is now second only to cancers in B.C. for potential years of life lost. We cannot simply hope that things will improve.
Latest News From Our Blog
Decriminalization in British Columbia
What is decriminalization? Decriminalization represents a shift from a criminal justice response to one of a public health response to address substance use and the ongoing toxic drug epidemic. It is a form of harm reduction aimed at reducing the harm that arises...
UBCO Harm Reduction Team at Big White
Students working with the Campus Health Harm Reduction Team headed up to Big White Resort to provide drug testing at the AltiTunes Music Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. This was a first for the resort and for our team. Read more about it on INFOnews.ca. ...
Tackling Toxic Drugs at UBCO
UBCO’s collaboration with the community is breaking down barriers when it comes to accessing harm reduction services. Today the UBC Okanagan News featured an article about the HaRT (Harm Reduction Team) and the good things they are accomplishing on campus. HaRT’s work...
“Harm Reduction “shifts resources and power to the people who are most vulnerable to structural violence” (Monique Tula as quoted in Godfrey, 2018, p.x).””
– Monique Tula as quoted in Godfrey, 2018, p.x.