As recreational drugs like cocaine are increasingly cut with fentanyl, a movement has sprung up to prevent deaths in nightclubs.
In a first, the U.S. government is funding clean syringe programs for people who use drugs, and New York City has approved supervised drug use sites. Here’s how the controversial strategy of harm reduction is at work in hospitals and on city streets.
Drug overdoses have reached record highs. Experts offer tips to talk about opioids with your family.
In addition to naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, the machines will distribute free syringes, toiletries and safe-sex kits.
Rafe epitomizes why harm reduction strategies work. Multiple, evidence-based interventions – rooted in compassion and reducing harm – saved his life.
“This is what happens when public health fails.”
Medical school had convinced me that the U.S. was the best place in the world at keeping sick people alive. But meeting people like Brian, who grow up surrounded by sickness, disability, and early death, confronted me with the grim reality that our nation hasn’t done enough to protect and foster healthy people.
Overdoses have surged during the pandemic. Now, for the first time, Congress has appropriated funds specifically for programs that distribute clean syringes and other supplies meant to protect users.
These centers are part of a broader strategy of harm reduction, a set of strategies designed to minimize the negative effects of drug use. While the harm reduction model has been embraced by the Biden Administration, they haven't endorsed supervised consumption sites.
The opioid epidemic could kill hundreds of thousands in the next decade. But America can beat it.
I know there's a lot more we could be doing for heroin users who haven't quit yet.
Healthcare facilities and first responders across the county have naloxone on hand to treat people in an opioid-related health crisis. Hospitals have also begun giving naloxone kits to these patients when they’re discharged, instead of sending them off with just a prescription, said Shannon Knox, director of training and education for Community Health Project L.A.
Unfortunately, there has been opposition to safer supply programs from some in the addiction treatment community. Such opposition has the potential to undermine public support for people who use drugs and the expansion of lifesaving interventions that are urgently needed.
Think of them as an essential harm-reduction tool, like condoms.
The fear that life-saving interventions encourage reckless behavior – a concern historically used to oppose everything from condoms to seat belts – is called “moral hazard.”
There is no peer-reviewed, empirical evidence that naloxone use encourages opioid use. But this argument remains pervasive.
Since the opening of the centers for those who struggle with substance abuse, at least 85 overdoses have been reversed without medical attention.
Bigg brought the opioid antidote naloxone to the streets. But today’s poisoned drug supply makes saving lives harder than ever.
On Point operates under a needs-based mobile distribution model that brings services directly to individuals. This model eliminates geographic and temporal barriers, as staff and volunteers can reach parts of San Diego County that would otherwise have no harm reduction programs. On Point provides both home visits and street outreach to maximize the availability of harm reduction services.
National Harm Reduction Coalition creates spaces for dialogue and action that help heal the harms caused by racialized drug policies.
Stopoverdose.org is a project of the Center for Drug Safety and Services Education (CDSSE) at the University of Washington Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute
Harm Reduction Journal publishes research focusing on the prevalent patterns of psychoactive drug use, the public policies meant to control them, and the search for effective methods of reducing the adverse medical, public health, and social consequences associated with both drugs and drug policies.
The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (PHRA) is a community-based non-profit and drug user empowerment organization that has provided health and harm reduction services to people who use drugs in since 2007.