The Hi-Ground Team is a multidisciplinary group of health care workers, social workers and peer educators, who are all passionate about caring for the Queensland and wider Australian community of people who use drugs!
Hi-Ground staff are Hi-ghly trained and qualified health care professionals specialised in the Alcohol and Other Drugs sector. Their primary motivation is to promote the health and well-being of people who currently use illicit drugs, those who have used illicit drugs in the past, and members of the community touched or affected by illicit drug use. Hi-Ground staff will often lead the chatroom ‘take over’ sessions where you can ask specific questions to a qualified healthcare worker.
Hi-Ground peers are volunteers that bring a wealth of knowledge, empathy and genuine motivation from their own experiences within the drug user community and health services specialised in AOD. Our volunteers are aged 18+, and identify as peers to communities and people who use drugs.
What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is an approach that acknowledges that the use of illicit and harmful substances continues to occur and seeks to reduce the harms of their use. Harm Reduction was not invented as part of the National Drug Strategy (NDS), rather it was a community-led peer-based response to the emergence of HIV in the 1980s that worked to promote the health of people who inject drugs. The Australian Government developed and implemented ‘Harm Minimisation’ as the National Drug Strategy in 1985. Harm reduction is one pillar of Australia’s NDS. Harm minimisation has 3 pillars, these are: Demand Reduction (this is alcohol/other drug treatment and education that discourages use), Supply Reduction (the role of law enforcement to police regulated and unregulated drug markets), and Harm Reduction.
While Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction, and Harm Reduction as a whole form the Harm Minimisation approach to policy, the funding of each is highly inequitable with supply reduction receiving most of the government funding and harm reduction receiving the least amount.
The International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) defines harm reduction as the ‘policies, programmes and practices that aim to reduce the harms associated with the use of psychoactive drugs in people unable or unwilling to stop. The defining features are the focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself, and the focus on people who continue to use drugs.’
Harm Reduction is a central part of the philosophy behind Hi-Ground, QuIVAA and QuIHN. QuIHN and its founding members have operated networks of Needle & Syringe Programs (NSP) for over two decades and in 2021 now have over 5 NSP services located all over Queensland. Hi-Ground operates as an online tool for QuIHN and QuIVAA to reach a wider client community who may not have the ability to go to one of their clinics, but are still able access harm reduction information and support online.