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Harm Reduction

What is Harm Reduction?

“Harm reduction is an approach that promotes health in a way that meets people where they are at, accepting that not everyone is ready or capable of stopping their substance use at a given time. Instead of making judgments about where individuals suffering from addiction should be with regards to their health and behavior, harm reduction focuses on promoting evidence-based methods for reducing associated health risks in the current moment (e.g., preventing HIV transmission).

The defining features of harm reduction include a focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of substance use itself. Harm reduction initiatives run the gamut from medical care and disease prevention, to education and linkage to addiction treatment.”

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Harm Reduction Resources:



National Harm Reduction Coalition

University of Washington Harm Reduction Research & Treatment Center

SAMHSA – MAT Medications, Counseling, & Related Conditions

Recovery Research Institute – Harm Reduction

Vital Strategies – Covid-19 Resources for Drug Users & Vulnerable Communities

CDC – Syringe Service Programs


Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition

Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia

REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (OONE)

Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition



SAMHSA – “Harm Reduction & Opioid Misuse: Embracing Positive Change”

SAMHSA – “Finding the Hook: Changing Perceptions of Harm Reduction Strategies”

TEDx Talks – “Harm Reduction as an Act of Compassion” by Lyndsay Hartman

TED – The harm reduction model of drug addiction treatment by Mark Tyndall