Preventing people from dying and supporting them in using drugs safely are part of the healing journey itself. Only if people are alive, safe and ready can they decide to reach out for the support or treatment that will work for them. Each person's journey is unique.
The First Nations Health Authority's (FNHA) ongoing harm reduction campaign is centered on the stories of Indigenous people who have been affected by the toxic drug crisis. These stories increase awareness and understanding of harm reduction, which prioritizes saving lives and meeting individuals where they are on their wellness journey.
Candice, from the Dene and Cree Nation, points to a safe, accessible drug supply as one example of a safer alternative to toxic drugs as seen through a harm reduction lens. “If we can just give a clean drug supply, less people are dying," says Candice.
The people who stay alive and stay safe – through a harm reduction approach – have the opportunity to find out about the many options available to them when they are ready to take their next steps.
Candice urges people to take that next step. “Don't be afraid to ask for help with your addiction. That's what's going to save your life."
When Corina, from the Nazko First Nation, was ready to reach out for support, she did some research to learn about her options.
“I did my homework and I found people and resources to connect with," says Corina. “From where I am now, [compared] to where I started, I [wish] I would have reached out for help a little sooner and spoke about it more."
There are a range of treatments available for any step in the process of healing. Ask your healthcare provider or support network about safer alternatives to toxic drugs, such as FNHA's Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service, Opioid Agonist Therapy, land -based healing and more.
To learn more about Candice and Corina's stories, where to find harm reduction sites and services and other resources, visit www.fnha.ca/harmreduction.