Caribbean Harm Reduction Coalition (CHRC)

The organisation of the Caribbean Harm Reduction Coalition is a major accomplishment of the NGO drug treatment and rehabilitation sector in 2000. The Coalition is loose grouping of individuals and NGOs that share a common view that interventions that reduce drug related harm are valuable activities irrespective if they lead to abstinence.

If you are interested in joining the Coalition please email With a unified voice we can be heard.

CHRC Mission Statement

The Caribbean Harm Reduction Coalition (CHRC) is committed to assisting individuals and communities by initiating and promoting education, interventions, and community organizing programmes that focus on reducing drug related harm.

The CHRC promotes a client centred approach to both conventional and alternative models of health and human services and drug treatment challenging the traditional client/provider relationship.

The CHRC is committed to provide resources, educational materials, and support to health professionals and drug users in their communities to assist them in addressing drug-related harm.

The CHRC acknowledges that there needs to be a greater multiplicity of service to the drug using population of the Caribbean. Committed to the public health model of a continuum of care, Coalition members know that just as there was no one stereotypical drug user profile, service provision also needs to be more diverse. The members further recognize that while abstinence is the ultimate goal of all interventions, that movement along the continuum occurs in both directions and that the passage to reach the goal may be long, arduous and for some laden with a progression of challenges.

The Caribbean Harm Reduction Coalition believes in every individual's right to health and well being as well as in their competency to protect and help themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

Elements of Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users "where they're at," addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.

Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction.

However, CHRC considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice.

1. Harm Reduction accepts, for better and for worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.

2. Harm Reduction understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.

3. Harm Reduction establishes quality of individual and community life and well being--not necessarily cessation of all drug use--as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.

4. Harm Reduction calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.

5. Harm Reduction ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.

6. Harm Reduction affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies, which meet their actual conditions of use.

7. Harm Reduction recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people's vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.

8. Harm Reduction does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.

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