Applications open for 2024 Youth Harm Reduction Award

Calling all youth in the Island Health region 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 unregulated substances? 

If so, Island Health wants to hear from you! Applications for the 2024 Youth Harm Reduction Award are now open. Launched in 2022, the award recognizes youth who have worked on a harm reduction project related to substance use. Winners will receive $1,000 (total) and a framed certificate for each recipient. 

Last year’s winning team included three Victoria youth who surveyed students at their high school to explore awareness of substance use and discover what was needed to further harm reduction efforts. They also produced a short video about their project that was shared with staff and community partners.

“Young people’s voices are critical to our response to the toxic drug crisis,” says Dr. Réka Gustafson, chief medical health officer. “Island Health is honoured to recognize their inspiring work with this annual award.”

Applicants for the 2024 award can submit applications up to March 31, 2024.  Applicants must be under 19 and live in any community in the Island Health region, which includes Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. Applications will be reviewed 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 harm-reduction 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