Harm reduction services for British Columbia's First Nation population: a qualitative inquiry into opportunities and barriers for injection drug users

Harm Reduct J. 2006 Oct 11:3:30. doi: 10.1186/1477-7517-3-30.


Background: Aboriginal injection drug users are the fastest growing group of new Human Immunodeficiency Virus cases in Canada. However, there remains a lack of comprehensive harm reduction services available to First Nation persons, particularly for First Nation people dwelling in rural and reserve communities. This paper reports findings from an exploratory study of current harm reduction practices in First Nation communities. The purpose of this study was to provide an overview of the availability and content of current harm reduction practices, as well as to identify barriers and opportunities for implementing these services in First Nation communities.

Methods: Key informant interviews were conducted with 13 addictions service providers from the province of British Columbia, Canada.

Results: Participants identified barriers to these services such as community size and limited service infrastructure, lack of financial resources, attitudes towards harm reduction services and cultural differences.

Conclusion: It was recommended that community education efforts be directed broadly within the community before establishing harm reduction services and that the readiness of communities be assessed.