The Canadian Harm Reduction Network defines Harm Reduction as policies, programs and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences that may ensue from the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, without necessarily reducing drug use. Its cornerstones are public health, human rights and social justice. It benefits people who use drugs, families and communities.
Harm Reduction is underpinned with the knowledge that many drug-related problems are not the result of the drugs themselves; rather they are the consequences of the unregulated manufacture and trade of drugs and the enduring commitment to failed policies and ill-thought-out and inequitably applied laws.
Finally, Harm Reduction ensures that people who use psychoactive substances are treated with respect and without stigma, and that substance-related problems and issues are addressed systemically.