Harm Reduction is an approach and philosophy that aims to reduce the outcomes of negative and harmful effects on an individual. Out of all the options that we can offer someone who is interested in changing their behavior(s) around substance abuse, this is the most respectful and genuine approach to change. Why? Not everyone is the same and it’s important to truly meet an individual ‘where they are.’ This person-centered approach to using safely and having support, is a great way to engage people in a discussion around their methods and patterns of use. Harm reduction provides an opportunity to extend the substance use disorder continuum of care to those who may be perceived as unreachable. Traditional treatment requires an individual to achieve a level of abstinence on their own before receiving care. Harm reduction allows individuals to define and work towards their own goals in their own time and in their own way.
Narcan is often used to treat opiate overdose. It works by knocking out opiates that have bonded to opiate receptors in the brain. It should be administered immediately after an overdose, and a second dose may be given if the person is unresponsive to the first. The effects are typically immediate and will last from 30-90 minutes. It is vital to have Narcan on hand when treating opioid abuse/dependence. Those who struggle with opiate use disorder are especially vulnerable for overdose after detoxing and relapsing. Police often carry Narcan, and it can be prescribed by a doctor or obtained at some needle exchange locations for free. Narcan can be given by a nasal spray or intramuscular injection.
Needle exchange sites are a public health service for those who are experiencing a substance use disorder involving injection. In a safe environment, it reduces the spread of HIV and other blood-borne infections among people who inject drugs. New, sterile syringes and clean injection equipment is provided at these sites in exchange for used, contaminated syringes. These sites operate an important part of comprehensive care by getting users into treatment and health care services, including testing for infections these individuals are prone to, treatment readiness counseling and case management services, education about harms associated with drug use and how to minimize them, and safe disposal of contaminated equipment.
These are links to the most typically requested services. For more information or further help, please contact us.