Overdose death is preventable. Decriminalize all drugs.
Harm Reduction saves lives.
Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance (THRA) is a coalition of people who use drugs, workers, students, researchers, and allies. We are advocates working to end prohibition and save lives. We believe in Harm Reduction as a philosophy and a socio-political approach to an ever-growing population of people who use drugs- those who are otherwise left at risk, faced with stigma, limited infrastructure and minimal policy to protect them. We are the beating heart and front-runners for Harm Reduction and policy change in the GTA, constantly working to reduce the harms associated with the criminalization of drug use.
Our goal is to increase the quality of life for people who use drugs by reducing stigma, fighting inequality and discrimination; and advocating, organizing and demonstrating by any means. We seek to educate, not only to inform and support our own community, but to enlighten the broader society about the way people who use drugs are typically, and regularly, mistreated, discriminated and outright shamed. THRA aims to empower. We believe that everybody has value and is valued, and that everybody deserves barrier-free equality.
THRA meets on the second Friday of every month to provide a meeting place for Harm Reduction related issues; for individuals and groups to discuss their needs and issues; share information; support one another; and continue the development of Harm Reduction practices and influence policy.
THRA rose from the ashes of SCUC (the Safer Crack Use Coalition). SCUC fought to bring crack pipes and related supplies to Toronto as well as a provide a drug-positive space where people could access support and info. When the Works, a city funded organization, took over the distribution of crack pipes, SCUC members recognized that the tangible work of SCUC had been completed. However, the Coalition’s successes made apparent the need for a city-wide grassroots Harm Reduction group and meeting, as well as a safer space for people who use drugs. It was this that motivated a small collection of drug users, allies and agency staff to envision a Toronto-based organization that would (and could) represent those in our community without a voice, and push for the Harm Reduction and drug users movement. With the goal of being at the pinnacle of drug user advocacy and education, THRA held its first meeting in January of 2012.
Since its inception, THRA has undertaken and succeeded in implementing a number of initiatives and events. In April of 2014, we created Toronto’s first Harm Reduction Worker’s Forum, which lead to the development of the world’s first Harm Reduction Worker’s union – the Toronto Harm Reduction Worker’s Union supported by the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2015, we developed a Peer Worker Forum in partnership with CATIE and spearheaded the initiatives to create Harm Reduction focused frontline worker trainings. In the broader sphere, THRA provided input into Toronto’s Overdose Action Plan, advocated for Canada’s Good Samaritan Act, and have a representative sit on Toronto’s Drug Strategy Implementation Panel.
THRA’s committed members have helped organize rallies including the National Day of Action on Overdose Deaths (Feb 20/21st) and the International Day of Overdose Awareness (Aug 31st). THRA also fully supports our sister affiliate, Toronto Overdose Prevention Society (TOPS), in opening Toronto’s first (and only!) unsanctioned overdose prevention site and related initiatives.
As crusaders for marginalized peoples, THRA and TOPS actively fight for fair, affordable and stable housing and advocate for the homeless community. To this end, collectively, with the efforts of allied organizations, we successfully pressured the City of Toronto to open the Moss Park Armoury for otherwise limited Out Of The Cold efforts, during 2017/2018’s treacherous cold .
What We Do
- Hold monthly meetings in which concerns, issues and information can be shared.
- Table events with harm reduction supplies and info, as well as Naloxone training and distribution.
- Organize rallies, advocate for people who use drugs within agencies and on a government level.
- Hold community social events that intentionally include people who use drugs.
- Build and facilitate workshops through which people who use drugs are paid for their expertise.