Harm reduction refers to practices that aim to minimize the harm of drug use and sex work without judgment, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that people stop using drugs or engaging in sex work as a precondition of support.
SWAN’s commitment to harm reduction means that we try to meet people’s most pressing needs without standing in judgment of their choices. To counter the harms of structural disempowerment, SWAN connects people on the streets to basic resources, bridges the gap between the streets and social service organizations, and advocates alongside clients to local authorities and service providers.
SWAN advocates for the expansion of syringe exchanges, for expanded access to and availability of naloxone, and for the introduction of safe injection sites (also known as supervised consumption facilities). Safe consumption sites are legally sanctioned facilities that allow people to consume pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff. Evidence from such facilities around the world show that they reduce overdose rates and promote access to health services.