What is harm reduction?
All substances have a risk of causing harm and a lot of the time the safer way to be is to not use drugs or alcohol. But that is not a choice everyone can or wants to make. There are also times when it is safer to continue using such as if you are prescribed medication or if you’ve been using it for a long time and need special help coming down. It is important to reflect on the role substances may play in our lives and the lives of those around us. If people are using it, it’s important to have accurate information to help reduce the amount of harm that could happen. Reducing the risk is commonly referred to as harm reduction. Even if we aren’t using it, this is good info to know because you may find yourself in a position where you can help someone else.
Harm Reduction Programs and Safer Substance Use Supply Distribution
SERC offers peer-led harm reduction programming in both Brandon and Winnipeg. Brandon’s program is known as Project Love while Winnipeg’s program PeerNPeer supports Two-Spirit, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer + (2STLGBQ+) folks engaged in sexualized drug use.
A peer-led group that runs out of SERC Brandon and some rural communities. We have a small group of volunteers with lived or living experiences using different substances. We work together to provide harm reduction supplies and education to help keep our communities safer!
For more information, contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-571-3284.
PnP also called Party and Play or Chemsex is a commonly used term among 2STLGBQ+ folks for using drugs as part of sex. SERC recognizes that just like bars, apps, activism, or curling, this is one of many ways 2STLGBQ+ people might connect. However, the unique stigma surrounding drugs and sex can create barriers to accessing the tools folks need for safer PnP. These may include:
- Harm reduction supply access such as injection kits, pipes, and Naloxone
- Getting regular HIV and STI testing
- Accessing supportive service providers and health professionals
- Connecting to peers and community in other meaningful ways
SERC Peer N Peer is a Winnipeg-based program to support the unique needs of the 2STLGBQ+ PnP community. This program is peer-led and includes the confidential distribution of PnP harm reduction supplies. The program was piloted from April 2022 to March 2023. It is currently on hold while we look to secure more funding. In the meantime, please check out the resources here.
This initiative was created in partnership with the Community-Based Research Centre with funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The views herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.