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Focus on Harm Reduction for Injection Drug Use in Canadian Prisons: A Supplement to CNA’s Harm Reduction Discussion Paper

Prison populations in Canada and around the world have high rates of reported drug use and significantly higher occurrences of communicable diseases such as HIV and HCV (hepatitis C). Harm reduction for injection drug use, delivered through needle and syringe exchange programs, is an effective and pragmatic public health approach to caring for people in prison who use drugs. Nurses have an ethical responsibility to provide non-judgmental care to individuals experiencing (or at risk of) harm from substance use, regardless of setting,1 while emphasizing human rights and the importance of treating all individuals with respect and dignity, irrespective of drug use.