Best Practices for Supporting People Who Use Substances

As a component of the Substance Use Capacity Building Project, SafeLink Alberta has developed The Best Practices for Supporting People Who Use Substances Toolkit.

Over the past year, SafeLink Alberta conducted a review of available literature and consulted with people with lived and living experience, service providers who support people who use substances, and other industry experts to inform our Best Practices for Supporting People Who Use Substances Toolkit. As of January 2023, we have conducted 55 individual consultations with 31 people who use substances and 24 people who support people who use substances as a service provider.  

We’ve also included learnings from our own implementation experience, and we welcome you to connect with our team as you navigate this document and as you begin or expand upon your own journey to implement these practices into your work. 

In general, key considerations for supporting people who use drugs should include: 

  • Engaging in best practices for supporting people who use drugs, including getting to know the stories and lived realities of people who use substances, and providing services in a non-judgemental and low-barrier manner.
  • Looking to people who use drugs for advice on program design so programs better meet their needs. 
  • The meaningful engagement of people with lived and living experience in program delivery, such as facilitating opportunities for people to share their lived experience and obtain employment with organizations serving people who use drugs. 

This Toolkit will benefit any service provider supporting people who use substances. 

Get your copy now by filling out our form!


We welcome feedback on our toolkit, please email with any comments or feedback.

If you would like to leave an anonymous comment please do here.

Funding Acknowledgement

Production of this document has been made possible through funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP).

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.