Harm Reduction


Dr. Hansel Tookes embraces IDEA participant Melissa.
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  • Harm reduction approaches help reduce certain health and safety issues associated with drug use.1 As a model of substance use care distinct from treatment or recovery support,2 harm reduction was created by and for people who use drugs3 to improve health and wellbeing, including during active drug use. Well-studied harm reduction strategies include syringe services and naloxone distribution programs.
  • Decades of research have shown that some harm reduction strategies provide significant individual and public health benefits,4,5,6 including preventing deaths from overdoses and preventing transmission of infectious diseases among people who use drugs and the larger community. Others reduce emergency department visits and costly healthcare services,7,8 while in some cases offering people who use drugs opportunities to connect to substance use treatment9,10 and other healthcare10 services in settings relatively free of stigma.
  • NIDA supports research on how to best implement proven harm reduction strategies and to explore the effectiveness of new and emerging approaches, particularly in resource-challenged settings.

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