Harm Reduction

Lowering the risk of overdose through non-judgmental practices

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction has had its spot in multiple movements during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Some of the first harm reduction models emerged during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Harm reduction emphasizes engaging directly with people who use drugs to prevent overdose and infectious disease transmission; improve physical, mental, and social wellbeing; and offer low barrier options for accessing health care services, including substance use and mental health disorder treatment.

Harm reduction strategies:

  • Community education
  • Keeping NARCAN on hand
  • Reducing infectious disease transmission among people who use drugs by equipping them with sterile supplies such as glassware and providing clean needle exchanges
  • Reducing overdose deaths, promote linkages to care, facilitate co-location of services as part of a comprehensive, integrated approach.
  • Reducing stigma associated with substance use

Additional Resources

The Spahr Center - logo
The Spahr Center
National Harm Reduction Coalition logo
National Harm Reduction Coalition
never use alone logo / 1-800-484-3731
Never Use Alone: National Overdose Prevention Lifeline / 1-800-484-3731