reported that the opioid crisis is across the country. It is in the universities and impacting postsecondary students too.
As a result, harm reduction policies continue to gain traction.
Canadian universities may have opioid-blocking medication on-campus more and more. Or they may talk more about harm reduction policies, at least.
The main medication is Naloxone. It is a medication to save lives through prevention of harm, of overdoses for example. This could be on campuses throughout the nation.
As well, these moves reflect the change in the general culture. A change in the culture towards a reduction in zero tolerance or punitive drug policies.
In short, a change that reflects a general change into harm reduction methodologies. The goal is to aim for mature and responsible use of the drugs.
The harm reduction philosophy amounts to an acknowledgment of drugs as a part of society, while also working to reduce the associated harms.
People in a free democratic society use substance. The goal is to aim for mature and responsible use of the drugs. A Canadian CSSDP spokesperson, Michelle Thiessen, talked about harm reduction.
Thiessen founded the UBC-Okanagan chapter of the organization. She said, “There can be some tension between what we think needs to happen to educate people on how to safely use drugs, and the administrators being nervous about putting that information out there because they feel like it endorses substance use.”
In other words, she was speaking on the tension between education safe drug use. But she was also taking into account the understandable caution of administrators on campuses.
Because the association with the substances or drugs continues to be negative. This amounts to a stigma factor.
She was, in essence, talking about the stigma factor from the side of the universities. Because the evidence does note the stigma as an issue. But it is relevant because stigma about drugs creates a barrier to evidence-based policies.
However, the evidence is clearly in support of harm reduction policies. Our universities should act on harm policies in the light of the evidence.
It is, in part, a matter of messaging.
One clinical professor of neuropsychology at the University of British Columbia, Paul Dagg, commented. “There was the old messaging around drugs and the war on drugs. Now we’ve got to talk about safe use of drugs and make people aware that drugs other than marijuana have a higher level of danger attached to them now,” Dagg said.
Dagg explained succinctly, “There’s clear evidence that harm reduction education and interventions do not increase drug use.”