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Media Advisory


NANAIMO — NARSF Programs, in partnership with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, and several states including Washington,  is holding a symposium in Nanaimo to exchange ideas and strategies on harm reduction.

Harm reduction, which is often controversial and subject public debate, is a pragmatic approach to keeping people safe and reducing the rate of death, disease and injury associated with higher risk behaviours. While harm reduction is most often linked to drug use, it is a universal public health approach that includes activities such as wearing a seatbelt while driving, a helmet while cycling or a condom when having sex.

The aim of the forum, which takes place on December 6th, is to:

· Exchange ideas and strategies that incorporate harm reduction principles and practices
into direct services, public policy and individual lives;
· Promote dialogue to increase understanding and acceptance of attitudes towards
addictions and mental health;
· Encourage culturally safe harm reduction approaches Aboriginal People; and,
· Give symposium participants opportunities to build on innovative practices on Vancouver

The symposium’s opening remarks and welcome will be provided by Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Medical Health Officer and a key note address will be delivered by Dr. Benedickt Fischer from the BC Centre of Addiction Research who will discuss his recently completed study on crack cocaine use. Other topics to be examined include understanding and communicating harm reduction; balancing the needs of advocates, neighbors and service providers; and taking a public health approach instead of a ‘war on drugs’ approach to harm reduction.

The symposium is open to Public Health, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Service Organizations, First Nations’ Organizations, Government, Law Enforcement and community members with an interest in harm reduction.

Registration information is available at:

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