Programming Connection

Harm Reduction Dispensing Units 

Ottawa Public Health

2019

What is the Program?

Harm reduction dispensing units (HRDUs) are machines that distribute safer drug use supplies (e.g., sterile needles, pipes). The objectives of the HRDUs are to increase access to harm reduction materials and to reduce the sharing and reuse of supplies among people who use drugs, which can lead to a decrease in HIV and hepatitis C infections. HRDUs are not meant to replace frontline services, but rather to augment them by providing access to drug use equipment after hours. Ottawa Public Health coordinates the HRDU program in Ottawa, which complements the harm reduction services offered by several community-based health organizations.