What does “Harm Reduction” mean?
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences (i.e., negative health outcomes) associated with drug use.
What is the current philosophy of Harm Reduction?
Harm Reduction is a public health philosophy that seeks to empower individuals, remove barriers to accessing the support that they need, and supply pragmatic approaches to risk reduction in a non-judgmental/non-coercive way that is compassionate and accepting of any positive change. Harm Reduction supports a wide spectrum of strategies from doing the behavior more safely, to limiting certain behaviors, to abstinence.
What are the benefits of harm reduction related to substance use?
Harm reduction has many benefits for people who use substances, their families, and communities. Research shows harm reduction activities can:
- Reduce the transmission of blood-borne pathogens and communicable diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis C
- Reduce overdose deaths and other early deaths among people who use substances
- Reduce injection substance use in public places, and reduce the number of used needles in public
- Reduce the sharing of syringes and other substance-use equipment
- Reduce crime and increase employment among people who use substances
- Educate about safe substance use practices and reduce the frequency of use
- Educate about safer sex and sexual health and increase condom use
- Support clients by providing linkage to community resources
- Increased success in recovery
For more information about Syringe Services Programs go to the CDC website: CDC Syringe Services Programs
Public health principles of Harm Reduction include:
- Meeting the client where they are, using programs designed for the community being served.
- Accepts that drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects on the people using drugs, rather than ignore or condemn those individuals.
- Understands that drug use and behavior change are complex and multifaceted.
- They include a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence.
- Affirms that people who inject drugs are the primary agents responsible for reducing the harm from their drug use, and seeks to empower them to support each other and share information.
- Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for dealing with drug-related harm.
- Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real or tragic harm and dangers associated with licit and illicit drug use.
Starting January of 2022
Harm Reduction Services will be expanding locations in Columbia County
First Wednesday of the month - Vernonia
Second Wednesday of the month-Clatskanie
Third Wednesday of the month - Vernonia
Fourth Wednesday of the month - Rainier
Call for mobile services - Scappoose
Call for mobile services - St. Helens
12:00pm to 2:00pm
For exact locations and mobile services please call
CCMH TEAM HOW
Main Line: 503-438-2227 ext 4001
Click here to see a list of other syringe exchanges in the region that are currently offering services.
- Safe disposal of used syringes
- Access to sterile syringes, new safer injection supplies, and new sharps containers
- Overdose rescue kits including naloxone a drug used to reverse opioid overdose
- Risk reduction counseling
- Safer sex supplies
- Wound and abscess care
- Referrals to medical and mental health care, shelter services, and alcohol and drug treatment.
Need a ride? visit NW CONNECT OR→
click on "schedule, routes, fares"
Harm reduction resources:
Columbia Community Mental Health (CCMH) Drug and Alcohol Treatment
How can I dispose of Sharps safely?
Columbia County Sharps Container Exchange Program
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events