Applications now open for 2023 Youth Harm Reduction Award

Are you, or someone you know, a young person with a passion for harm reduction? Have you, or someone you know, worked on a project in the past year that focused on reducing harms related to the toxic drug crisis?

If so, Island Health would love to hear from you! Applications for the 2023 Youth Harm Reduction Award are now open. This award, launched in 2022, recognizes youth who have worked on a harm reduction project related to substance use. Winners receive $1,000 (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 March 31, 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 April, 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 seatbelts 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.