Four Pillars


Governments and communities around the world are recognizing that reducing the harms from substance use takes an integrated, cross-sectoral approach.

Locally, the Peterborough Drug Strategy aims to develop a comprehensive strategy for the City and County of Peterborough including the four pillars of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement.

Prevention refers to interventions that seek to prevent or delay the onset of substance use as well as to avoid problems before they occur.  More than education, prevention involves strengthening the health, social and economic factors that can reduce the risk of substance use, including access to health care, stable housing, education and employment. Examples of prevention include mentoring programs, municipal alcohol policies, and limiting the sale of alcohol. (For more information on prevention and health in Peterborough, visit

Harm Reduction refers to a range of pragmatic and evidence-based public health policies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with drug use.  Harm reduction includes blood alcohol limits, safe injection equipment and condom distribution, counseling and referrals, etc. (for more information on local Harm Reduction services and projects, visit

Treatment refers to the programming provided to people already dealing with a substance use issue, with services ranging from a philosophy of total abstinence to one that focuses on managing use. Examples of treatment include residential withdrawal management (“detox”) and outpatient treatment, counselling, and substitution therapies e.g., methadone maintenance therapy. (for more information on local treatment options, visit

Enforcement refers to interventions that seek to strengthen community safety by responding to the crimes and community disorder issues associated with legal and illegal substances.  Enforcement includes the broader criminal justice system of the courts, probation and parole, etc. (for more information on local enforcement services and programs, visit or