Harm Reduction Program
Substance use disorder, particularly the use of opiates, has become an epidemic in Hamilton County. This has led to an increase in hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. Harm Reduction programs can help reduce the negative impacts of the opioid epidemic.
What is a Harm Reduction Program?
It is a comprehensive, community based public health initiative that provides disease prevention, education and referral services, including:
- Education about overdose prevention, communicable diseases and injection safety;
- Testing and referral to treatment for communicable diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy testing;
- Hepatitis vaccination;
- Referral to substance use disorder treatment programs, including medically assisted programs to combat addiction, as well as to medical, mental health and social services;
- Safe disposal of injection equipment;
- Access to sterile injection equipment to fight the spread of communicable disease;
- Access to naloxone, the overdose reversing drug; and
- Distribution of personal care items, including condoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who inject drugs and use a Harm Reduction Program are FIVE times more likely to enter treatment for substance use disorder and are more likely to reduce or stop injecting.