Psychoactive Substance Use Policy

Harm Reduction Services

Alberta Health Services is committed to providing a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. This commitment includes a recovery-oriented approach that includes harm reduction and places priority on treating patients and their families with respect and dignity without judgement, stigma, or discrimination. The Psychoactive Substance Use Policy is just one component in a larger initiative to address the opioid crisisand support people impacted by substance use.

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The Psychoactive Substance Use Policy reinforces the importance of promoting holistic care that recognizes the unique health and social needs of populations vulnerable to poor health outcomes. All programs and services across the continuum of care will offer a culturally safe recovery-oriented approach to care. Abstinence or a reduction in substance use is not required to receive equitable and compassionate health care services.

Harm reduction means those policies, programs, and practices that aim primarily to reduce the adverse health, social or economic consequences of the use of psychoactive substances without necessarily reducing consumption. Psychoactive substances are legal or illegal substance that affect mental processes, which includes controlled drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription medications. Harm reduction is evidence-based and can be targeted at the individual, the family, community or society.

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For more information on the implementation of this policy, or if you have any questions or concerns, email