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    Increased opioid-related morbidity and mortality in racialized communities has highlighted the intersectional nature of the drug policy crisis. Given the racist evolution of the war on drugs and the harm reduction (HR) movement, the aim of this study is to explore racism within harm reduction services through the perspectives of our participants. We conducted a qualitative descriptive study to explore the perspectives of racialized service users and providers on racism in the HR movement in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Four racialized service users and four racialized service providers participated in semi-structured interviews that were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. Five themes related to racism in HR were generated: (1) whiteness of harm reduction as a barrier to accessing services, (2) diversifying HR workers as a step towards overcoming distrust, (3) drop-in spaces specific to Black, Indigenous, and people of colour are facilitators to accessing harm reduction, (4) lack of representation in HR-related promotional and educational campaigns, and (5) HR as a frontier for policing. Our findings suggest that structural and institutional racism are prevalent in HR services within the GTHA, in the form of colour-blind policies and practices that fail to address the intersectional nature of the drug policy crisis. There is a need for local HR organizations to critically reflect and act on their practices and policies, working with communities to become more equitable, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all people who use drugs. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Parnika Godkhindi, Lisa Nussey, Tim O'Shea. They're causing more harm than good": a qualitative study exploring racism in harm reduction through the experiences of racialized people who use drugs. Harm reduction journal. 2022 Aug 25;19(1):96

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    PMID: 36008816

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