Harm Reduction

Grounded in the principle of “meeting people where they’re at, but not leaving them there,” harm reduction practices aim to reduce the harms associated with substance use by providing non-judgmental services and supports to people who use drugs. Strongly supported by evidence, a wide-range of harm reduction practices exist that reduce risk of overdose, overdose death, infectious disease transmission, and other substance use-related harms. Harm reduction services include syringe access, overdose education and naloxone distribution, fentanyl test strips, agonist-based medications for opioid use disorder, safer use supplies, wound care, housing support, and social supports, among many others. For decades, harm reduction organizations have provided life-saving essential services to people who use drugs and their communities.

In 2020, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched Preventing Overdose and Increasing Access to Harm Reduction Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This initiative provided $500,000 in rapid response funding grants to 16 harm reduction organizations across the nation to support harm reduction services throughout the pandemic. In addition to funding support, the National Council is working in partnership with CDC to develop training and technical assistance tools to increase adoption of effective harm reduction practices nationwide.

Harm Reduction across the National Council

Check out our harm reduction work across our organization below. For more information contact Shannon Mace at ShannonM@TheNationalCouncil.org.

This publication was made possible by grant number 6 NU38OT000318-02-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $750,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.