At its heart, the harm reduction movement is a close knit family of dreamers, radicals, and outsiders, tempering anger with hope, fighting stigma and marginalization with love.
– Daniel Raymond, Policy
A commitment to evidence - Harm reduction policies and practices are informed by a strong body of evidence that shows interventions to be practical, feasible, effective, safe and cost-effective in diverse social, cultural and economic settings. Most harm reduction interventions are easy to implement and inexpensive, and all have a strong positive impact on individual and community health.
A commitment to social justice and collaborating with networks of people who use drugs - Harm reduction is rooted in a commitment to addressing discrimination and ensuring that nobody is excluded from the health and social services they may need because of their drug use, their race, their gender, their gender identity, their sexual orientation, their choice of work, or their economic status. People should be able to access services without having to overcome unnecessary barriers, including burdensome, discriminatory regulations.
In states with legalized syringe exchange programs, people who use injection drugs turn in their used or “dirty” needles in exchange for unused, clean needles By expanding access to clean syringes and ensuring a safe way to dispose of bio-hazardous materials, syringe exchange programs create safer environments for the community at large. Additionally, syringe exchange programs are shown to lead to a 66% reduction in needle-stick injury to law enforcement. Click here to read more on why law enforcement in North Carolina support syringe exchange programs.
While it is a common myth that syringe exchange programs encourage, enable or increase drug use, as well as crime, decades of research from organizations including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, show that syringe exchange programs do none of those. In fact, many studies demonstrate that syringe exchange programs decrease drug use by connecting otherwise marginalized people to treatment. It is estimated that syringe exchange program participants are five times more likely to enter drug treatment than non-participants. https://www.harmreductionohio.org/ohio-syringe-programs-new-hro-list-with-all-locations-and-hours/
Sharing a needle or syringe to inject any type of substance (including steroids, hormones or silicone) puts you at risk of HIV and other infections found in the blood like hepatitis C. This applies whether injecting under the skin or directly into the blood stream.Sharing needles and syringes is not the only risk. Sharing water to clean injecting equipment, reusing containers to dissolve drugs, and reusing filters can also transmit HIV.To reduce transmission risk avoid shared needles and other injecting equipment, use a new or disinfected container and a new filter each time you prepare drugs, and use clean water when preparing drugs.
Can naloxone be abused or be harmful?No, naloxone has no potential for abuse. Its sole purpose is to reverse an opioid overdose and if administered by mistake, there are no harmful effects.
Doesn’t syringe exchange or syringe access programs encourage drug use? No, in fact, the research shows not only do they prevent the spread of infectious disease; they create an opportunity to offer needed medical and treatment services which ultimately does save lives.
Don’t safe injection facilities enable people to use drugs and lead to an increase in criminal activity in the surrounding area? No, hundreds of evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have proven that supervised injection facilities eliminate overdose deaths, does not encourage an increase in area criminal activity. https://www.drugpolicyfacts.org/chapter/supervised_consumption
What is Heroin Assisted Treatment? “Under HAT, pharmacological heroin is administered under strict controls in a clinical setting to those who have failed in other treatments like methadone. Every published evaluation of HAT has shown extremely positive outcomes: major reductions in illicit drug use, crime, disease and overdose; and improvements in health, wellbeing, social reintegration and treatment retention. More than a half dozen countries in Europe and Canada have implemented heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programs.” Drug Policy Alliance https://www.drugpolicyfacts.org/chapter/hat
“In this world, those who use drugs suffer from the hate and stigma of others. It is not justified. Addiction is not about choice. Addiction is not about willpower. It is a physical, medical, disorder. My son, as are others, was ill. But instead of the help he needed he received ineffective treatment. Again and again, because of that stigma, because of the ignorance that underlies that stigma, he was denied the treatment that may have saved his life.” Denise Cullen, E.D. of Broken No More and GRASP.