Harm Reducation Response Team
November 30, 2018
Street Health and eight partnering organizations celebrate the graduation of 15 Individuals who have successfully completed an intensive 12 week Harm Reduction training program. All of these partner organizations realized that they had regular clients who have addiction issues but no one on their staff who deeply understood those issues. Now, they will have qualified advocates on-site who understand addiction, lived experience, trauma, mental health issues...and who can offer strategies for empowerment.
For the next two years, these graduates of the Community Harm Reduction Response Team (CHRRT) will help lead their host agencies' Harm Reduction activities.
Street Health developed, and is now leading, this initiative with funding from the federal government’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). In addition to this group of Toronto-area workers, the program will also create a National Harm Reduction Advisory Committee which plans to include research, documentation, statistics, and the raw realities of those who have lived the experience.
“People with lived experience will always add valuable and effective insight to how we work with the community". According to Mary Kay MacVicar, Street Health's Harm Reduction Coordinator, “...by measuring and documenting this information, we are sharing strategies that help communities embrace a Harm Reduction approach, rather than labeling those with substance dependency with stigma and blame.”
This program is groudbreaking. On graduation day, both CBC Toronto News and the Here and Now Toronto radio program came by to interview participants.