Harm Reduction

Naloxone distribution programs are firmly rooted in the principles of Harm Reduction. 

Harm Reduction is the theory that even though we may not be able to immediately fix a problem as large as drug addiction/overdose, it is our moral obligation to reduce the amount of harm caused by it in the interim. The principles of harm reduction acknowledge the reality that drug use often continues despite prevention and treatment efforts but work to reduce the overall amount of suffering to the greatest degree currently possible.

Treating substance dependence and abuse completely are the ultimate goals of substance abuse prevention efforts. The principals of harm reduction simply emphasize that, until we are able to achieve that goal, we must do everything we can to prevent unnecessary deaths from occurring in the mean time.  

Reducing morbidity and mortality through expansion of naloxone distribution programs responds directly to the epidemic of unnecessary opioid overdose deaths in the same way that syringe exchange programs respond directly to the spread of HIV. 

Just like CPR, having the knowledge and training to administer naloxone to someone who is overdosing can be the difference between life and death.

No one has to die of an opiate overdose. 

“To reverse the epidemic of opioid
drug overdose deaths and prevent opioid-related morbidity, efforts to
improve safer prescribing of prescription opioids must be intensified. Opioid pain reliever prescrib- ing has quadrupled since 1999 and has increased in parallel with overdoses involving the most com- monly used opioid pain relievers.
In addition, efforts are needed to protect persons already dependent on opioids from overdose and other harms. This includes expanding access to and use of naloxone (a safe and effective antidote for all opioid-related overdoses) and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, in combination with behavioral therapies. Efforts to ensure access to integrated prevention services, including access to syringe service programs when available, is also an important consideration to prevent the spread of hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus infections from injection drug use.”
— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention