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Applications open for Island Health Youth Harm Reduction award

Award for young people who have worked on harm reduction projects in past year
Made Sparshu, Sam Elder and Nyoman Sparshu (left to right) were the inaugural recipients of Island Health’s Youth Harm Reduction award. (Courtesy of Island Health)

Island Health is looking for youth and young people who have a passion for harm reduction to apply for their 2023 Youth Harm Reduction award.

The award, which was launched in 2022, recognizes youth who have worked on harm reduction projects related to substance use. Winners receive $1,000 in total, and a framed certificate for each recipient.

Last year’s inaugural winners included three Victoria youth who provided harm reduction training and information to hundreds of people in the Greater Victoria area, including high school students, staff and community members.

“Island Health is excited and honoured to recognize youth who are doing amazing work in the area of harm reduction,” says Dr. Réka Gustafson, chief medical health officer. “Their efforts provide valuable education and support to reduce harm, fight stigma and help save lives.”

Applicants for the 2023 award can submit applications up to February 28, 2023. If you plan on applying, you must be under 19 and live in any community in the Island Health region, including the southern Gulf Islands. Applications will be reviewed beginning in March, with the winning submission announced in June.

Harm reduction aims to reduce negative health, social and legal impacts associated with a range of activities. Widely accepted practices include the use of seat belts and bike helmets, condoms, speed limits and sunscreen. Regarding the toxic drug crisis, harm reduction often refers to safer ways to consume substances, safer substance use supplies and the use of naloxone to reduce the effects of drug poisonings from opioids.

For more information and application forms, please visit Youth Harm Reduction Award.

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