- 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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Find More Resources on Harm Reduction
- Learn more about harm reduction from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Learn how harm reduction plays a role in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Overdose Prevention Strategy.
- Learn more about the guiding principles on harm reduction provided by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
- Learn more about the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center provided in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and SAMSHA.