The Safe Works Access Program (SWAP) is the needle distribution service offered by the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador (ACNL). It is a health promotion and education service for people who use drugs.
We believe that all people are deserving of respect and are responsible for making their own choices in life. We recognize that poverty, social class, racism, homophobia, heterosexism, social isolation, past trauma and other inequities have an impact on both people’s vulnerability to, and capacity for effectively dealing with risk taking behaviour.
SWAP strives to reach a population that often has difficulty or reluctance accessing the health and human services they often need. SWAP develops relationships with clients who can then facilitate the accessing of required external health and human services.
Working from a public health perspective, SWAP strives to reach people where they are. The goal is to reduce the negative consequences of a particular behaviour, rather than requiring that the behaviour stop. This approach may result in the eventual reduction of the behaviour itself. Any positive chance is considered harm reduction. It requires openness, honesty and a non-judgemental attitude.
Providing people with accurate information, compassion and support will enable them to make informed choices about their own health care. These aims are better achieved when people are directly involved in decisions that affect their lives, and in the planning and delivery of the services needed.