Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
Narcan (intranasal naloxone) is a live-saving medication that instantly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Access to Narcan has been proven in numerous studies to reduce the rates of opioid overdose deaths. All patients who are using opioids should educated about Narcan at discharge and offered a prescription for Narcan. Please see the videos linked below for information on Narcan for patients, families, and healthcare staff.
Sometimes people who use IV substances (such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crystal meth) are not ready to stop using. This does not mean they do not care about their health and about limiting the effects of IV substance use on their health. Access to sterile needles and “works” (other equipment used to inject, such as alcohol swabs, sterile water, and cookers) is an evidence-based intervention to help reduce transmission of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, as well as reducing rates of cellulitis, bacteremia, and endocarditis.