Harm reduction program at UBCO expands into Okanagan region

published on September 9, 2022 by Hannah Liddle in University Affairs

Last fall, in an effort to improve the health of its community and reduce the stigma surrounding drug use,  the harm reduction team (HaRT) at the University of British Columbia Okanagan launched a student-run program that provides free and confidential drug checking on campus. The program is aimed at preventing overdoses, and has since expanded into Okanagan Valley.

HaRT is comprised of an interdisciplinary student team trained to deliver drug-checking at a variety of sites, such as public mental health and substance use centres and a women’s shelter. Empowering students to deliver these services has several benefits, according to Samuel Tobias, a drug-checking research data co-ordinator at the British Columbia Centre for Substance Use (BCCSU).

“For students themselves [who are getting drugs checked], it is important to have someone like you offer these services because they can open up and make a connection right off the bat, instead of having a power dynamic with someone who is different from you,” he said…

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