Harm Reduction Strategies to Reduce Opioid Deaths Gain Traction in Southern States

Harm reduction strategies to reduce opioid-related deaths are gaining traction in southern states, according to Stateline.

Needle exchanges, naloxone distribution and other harm reduction strategies are designed to help people addicted to drugs make incremental changes to improve their health, the article notes. These strategies traditionally have been used in major cities such as San Francisco, New York and Chicago. In southern states, they often have been seen as encouraging use of drugs.

These attitudes are changing in the South, experts told Stateline. “Over time, harm reduction became seen as something that’s common sense,” said Michael-Devereux Louis Bertin, Executive Director of the South Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. “There’s a whole new wave of support for harm reduction in the South.”

Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia have enacted laws to expand the distribution of sterile syringes to help avoid spreading HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. Florida is close to approving a similar law.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

How to Respond to Overdose with Naloxone - Narcan
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    Fr. Jack Kearney, M.Div., CATC IV, CATE

    April 18, 2019 at 3:34 PM

    Really great article! I urge everyone to follow the link and read the whole thing. It includes important info like: “….CDC’s research, which shows that injection drug users who have access to syringe exchanges are five times more likely to get treatment than those who don’t.”

    I’m glad to see the Partnership noting good things about harm reduction….now if only you could do the same for Tobacco Harm Reduction….

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