"Harm reduction is a philosophy for social justice. It is set in the idea of working to lower (or reduce) the negative impact (or harm) that substance use and abuse might have on a person. What is said about this topic a lot within our agency is that "harm reduction is meeting someone where they are at without leaving them there". People will be making the choices that they make; and, while we cannot stop them, we can offer a resource that a person can handle on their own.
Some of what our work does is considered Harm Reduction. HIV Alliance is able to provide Syringe Service Programs drop boxes and needle exchanges throughout the state of Oregon. We are able to remove some of the many used syringes from our areas; this helps to lower the spread of bloodborne pathogens between people. We also offer recover, testing, and safer injection information to clients who may need this.
As we look at opiate drug use and opioid overdose rates increasing in Oregon, a greater need for overdose-reversal medication has come along too. Heroin, vicodin, and fentanyl are among the more widely known opioids in circulation today. HIV Alliance offers trainings and distributions of a drug known as Naloxone. Naloxone is an opiate-inhibitor when a person is overdosing on an opiate drug, if naloxone is used then the overdose can be reversed for a short time. More information for this is available by our prevention team and Needle Exchange Coordinators."