Women & Harm Reduction
WHAI is working with communities across Ontario to build capacity to respond to women's harm reduction related needs.
WOMEN WHO USE DRUGS AND HIV
Across Ontario, women who use drugs have identified harm reduction as an important need.
Women have reported using drugs for many different reasons. In some cases, women have identified the use of drugs to help cope with challenges related to gender-based violence, economic insecurity, and unmet emotional and physical health needs. Drug use is also identified as a risk factor for HIV among women in Ontario, making it an important area of work for WHAI.
THE IMPACT OF HARM REDUCTION
Harm reduction is a person-centred approach that seeks to reduce the health, social, and structural harms associated with substance use.
WHAI has been collaborating with women who use drugs and community organizations across Ontario to develop strategies and tools that enhance community capacity to do harm reduction work with women who use drugs.
Harm reduction is a commitment to supporting the dignity and respect of people who use drugs. Through this work, women who use drugs can be connected and supported in community organizations and play an important role in addressing institutional stigma and discrimination.
This work has the ability to promote the well-being and health outcomes for women living with, or facing systemic risk for HIV.
CENTRING WOMEN'S EXPERIENCES
“…They know I have addiction issues so they tell me not to use the public washroom for too long.”
— Woman living with HIV, Ontario
“This woman who works there helped me out with tips about how to inject. It’s really helped me out a lot. I don’t have to rely on other people now, and also I don’t have as many scars.”
— Woman who uses drugs, Ontario
WHAT IS WHAI DOING?
WHAI is collaborating with women who use drugs and community partners to build capacity related to women and harm reduction.
WHAI is working with women and community agencies across Ontario to ensure women who use drugs have access to important overdose prevention training and tools like naloxone.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (BCCEWH), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), and the Universities of Saskatchewan and South Australia discussion guide exploring gender-based harm reduction strategies.
WHAI's toolkit for strengthening the work harm reduction programs do with women who use drugs.