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Online Certificate in Harm Reduction, York University, Division of Continuing Education

Harm reduction is an internationally recognized means of redressing the harms associated with the use and distribution of illicit and licit drugs. It helps people to reach higher levels of health, functionality, self-efficacy and social membership, and also helps end suffering and save lives.

On its most basic, on-the-street level, harm reduction is about providing services that contribute to the betterment of the health and well-being of people who use drugs, without the often unrealistic requirement that they cease their drug use in order to receive those services. Moving up the chain, this has a profound impact on both program design and drug policy.

This Certificate Program will develop your understanding of harm reduction, starting with discussions with experts regarding hands-on work on the front line and ending in an examination of Canadian and international drug laws and policies.

This Certificate Program provides 117 hours of instruction in 3 courses:

Course 1 Introduction to Harm Reduction, April 18-July 15, 2011

  • Explains the principles and concepts of harm reduction; discusses the types and effects of different drugs; explores national/international programs; reviews evidence-based interventions and promising practices used with specific populations.

Course 2 Harm Reduction Policies and Strategie, September 12-December 9, 2011

  • Provides a critical examination of the development and implementation of policies that support or challenge harm reduction; compares national/international drug policy and the 4-pillar drug strategy framework; discusses the intersection of enforcement and harm reduction; explores the role of media and advocates in shaping policy.

Course 3 Harm Reduction Programs and Practice, January 9-April 6, 2012

  • Focuses on program development as it relates to harm reduction practice. Here, participants will be exposed to a variety of harm reduction strategies and will critically examine the effectiveness of different approaches to program development and implementation.

A Certificate in Harm Reduction is awarded to all students who successfully complete all three courses. These three courses must be taken sequentially.

Apply online at

For more information contact:

The Division of Continuing Education, York University
Atkinson Building, Room 143, 4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON  M3J 1P3
Tel: (416) 736-5616

[Source: Canadian Harm Reduction Networklist,]