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Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with substance use. Harm reduction meets people where they are and supports their agency in preventing overdose and adopting safer practices, on their own terms and with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Expanding Harm Reduction and Syringe Service Programs

Serious health issues related to substance use are on the rise in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) works with partners to strengthen the continuum of care for substance use disorders. Harm reduction and syringe service program (SSP) interventions are part of that continuum. These interventions provide practical support to decrease negative consequences of drug use and celebrate any positive change. They are important parts of the public health response to outbreaks of overdose and infectious diseases.

Planning and Resource Manual

To support the development of local harm reduction and SSPs, OHA is pleased to share the Harm Reduction and SSP Planning and Resource Manual. The development of this tool was a community process. Urban and rural syringe service programs across Oregon provided valuable input.

Harm Reduction and SSP Manual

Save Lives Oregon

Save Lives Oregon began in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the overdose crisis and left many families, neighborhoods and communities struggling. In response, OHA launched a resource hub to provide more life-saving supplies such as naloxone to organizations and tribal communities on the front lines of harm reduction. Save Lives Oregon also offers communications tools and educational materials for partner organizations.  

Reverse Overdose Oregon

The Oregon Health Authority launched a campaign to help employers adopt opioid overdose response programs as part of their standard workplace safety protocols. Reverse Overdose Oregon connects employers to training and tolls to prepare staff to recognize an opioid overdose and administer naloxone.  

Syringe Exchange Services

Syringe Service Programs provide a variety of services including free sterile needles and syringes, safe disposal areas, and access to prevention services such as HIV and Hepatitis C testing.