Sure - Canadian Substance Use Resource and Knowledge Exchange Centre

Harm reduction refers to a range of policies, programs, and practices that aim to reduce the negative consequences of substance use, to reduce harms and promote wellness, and to address the determinants of health without requiring abstinence. (CEWH, 2019)  Although the majority of the resources on this page focus on harm reduction, benefit maximization is an important and often overlooked approach to substance use. Benefit maximization expands on the concept of harm reduction to recognize the potential for non-problematic substance use and acknowledge the role of pleasure. (Chloe Sage and Warren Michelow, 2016)

While the sections of “harm reduction,” “treatment and recovery” and “prevention and health promotion” have been separated for the purposes of browsing, we recognize that these approaches are intertwined and exist on a spectrum with common foundations. These approaches cannot exist in silos. Conversations about these approaches must be nuanced and respect the lived and living experience of people who consume or have consumed substances.

Resources on this page have been specifically curated for quick browsing. For more resources on this topic, search the SURE database or click on “view all resources” under each subtopic.