Human Rights Education Toolkit

For information on harm reduction and human rights in light of COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 resources page.


The province of BC is committed to a human rights-based approach to the overdose crisis (see Overdose Emergency Response Centre Terms of Reference). This toolkit focuses on human rights issues associated with discrimination against people use drugs. It was originally developed to support the Human Rights Education Project (2019), and also supports community groups’ education and advocacy. The toolkit uses information collected from people who use drugs (PWUD) in BC (compiled and reported in Project Inclusion report, and used with permission), national and international sources.


Foundation Tools

Guiding Principles – Human Rights and Health Equity. How the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and BC Human Rights Code connect to health services, provincial and municipal  responsibilities.

Guiding Principles  – Drug Use as a Health and Rights Issue Drug use and the overdose crisis are issues of health and not criminality.

Surveying Conditions in BC Community research project Project Inclusion by Pivot Legal Society provides information on anti-homelessness and anti-substance user stigma in BC, including recommendations for change.


Tools for Action

How to Engage People with Lived Experience Understanding peoples’ lived experience is essential in a community response to the overdose crisis. This section includes practical tools for meaningful inclusion of people with lived experience in community work.

Beyond Stigma-Reduction – Putting Rights First How stigma impacts human rights. This section includes stigma reduction education tools.

Templates for Change Change may introduce difficult discussions, but the rights of people who use drugs are non-negotiable. This section includes guides for working with municipalities, healthcare, police, and more.


Each section of the Human Rights Education Project Toolkit offers resources learn more about human rights and health, and handouts to help in educating communities. The Select Handouts at a Glance page features a quick look at the resources from the entire Tools for Action section.

NEXT Guiding Principles: Human Rights and Health Equity

More resources can be found on our Substance Use and Harm Reduction page.

Please note that the information in this toolkit is for general information only and should not be taken or relied upon as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific situation, consult a lawyer.