Harm Reduction

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction provides strategies to reduce drug-related harms including death, disease and injury without requiring the cessation of drug use. Interventions may be targeted at the individual, family, community, or society.

How you can make a difference in our community

Addressing the issues of drug misuse requires the cooperation and collaboration of many community partners and private citizens. Raising awareness and educating people about substance misuse in the community and the roles that we play is vital.



Harm reduction strategies that you can do within your community:


An overdose occurs when a person uses more of a substance, or combination of substances, than the body can handle. As a consequence, the brain is not able to control basic life functions. The person may pass out, stop breathing and experience a seizure. Overdoses can be fatal.

5 Steps to giving naloxone

You can prevent an overdose:


Naloxone (also known as Narcan) can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose that may cause a person to stop breathing. If you witness an overdose, call 911 and stay with the person until emergency services arrive. Learn about the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act and how it may be able to protect you.

Naloxone kits are available to the public, free of charge, at participating pharmacies and other locations in the community. Learn where you can get a free naloxone kit click here.

Learn more about naloxone.

Needle and Syringe Program

The role of public health organizations within a CDS is to create a community with positive conditions that allow for people to lead healthier lives. The Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) is part of a larger harm reduction program offered by Public Health Sudbury & Districts (Public Health). Harm reduction is an evidence-based, client-centred approach that seeks to reduce the health and social harms or consequences associated with addiction and substance use, without requiring people who use substances from abstaining or stopping. NSPs are a central form of harm reduction for individuals who use substances and support community safety. NSPs distribute sterile needles, syringes, and other drug-use materials. These programs reduce the sharing and re-use of needles, syringes, and other supplies and reduce the number of improperly discarded needles and syringes in the community.

With an emphasis on evidence-informed practice, this report explores Public Health’s role in delivering harm reduction and needle recovery services in Greater Sudbury.

Download the full report (PDF, 350 KB)

This item was last modified on August 30, 2023