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    Some Communities Push Back on Fentanyl Harm Reduction Efforts

    Some communities around the country are pushing back on public health harm reduction initiatives aimed at people who use fentanyl, The Washington Post reports.

    Harm reduction focuses on reducing the harmful effects of substance use. Studies have shown that using clean needles reduces HIV and hepatitis C rates. Workers in harm reduction programs who hand out naloxone and condoms can also connect people with disease testing, wound care and other medical services.

    Harm reduction initiatives aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses involve providing small glass pipes along with sterile needles and other supplies, with a goal of limiting infected wounds and the spread of diseases that can result from injecting illicit substances. Some public health advocates believe smoking instead of injecting fentanyl may reduce the risk of fatal overdoses, the article notes.

    Critics of these efforts say distributing “safer smoking” supplies encourages substance use and could make fentanyl more appealing to people who are starting to use it. A law passed by West Virginia legislators will ban the distribution of pipes, tin foil and other supplies used to consume illicit substances starting June 2. Communities in Idaho and Oregon have also seen pushback against harm reduction efforts.


    May 2024