The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has been operating the Exchange Works Program since 2002. It is an effective public health program to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, primarily HIV and Hepatitis C, and to minimize the risks associated with substance use.
Harm Reduction Philosophy
Harm reduction is an approach that aims to decrease the negative health, social and economic consequences of substance abuse, for the user and the community, without requiring abstinence. It’s a practical approach to drug use, recognizing that quitting drugs may not be realistic or even desirable for everyone.
The Exchange Works program - Services Provided
- Provides new needles, spoons (cookers), alcohol swabs, water, tourniquets, and vitamin C to reduce the spread of blood borne infection among people who use needles for the purpose of injecting drugs.
- Provides new needles, alcohol swabs to reduce the spread of blood borne infection among people who use needles for the purpose of injecting steroids.
- Provides glass stems, screens, mouth pieces to reduce the spread of blood borne infection among people who smoke crack cocaine.
- Provides and collects sharps containers for the safe disposal of used needles, crack stems and all other supplies.
- Provides information about safer drug use.
- Offers community referrals to services as needed.
All services are free and confidential. No health card is needed.
Partner Agencies and Locations
Over the years the accessibility of the Exchange Works program across Simcoe Muskoka has greatly expanded as a result of partnerships with other agencies who serve the same clientele. The Exchange Works program currently has a number of partner agencies. Click here for Exchange Works Locations