Harm Reduction

Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. It is an antagonist. This means that it attaches to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids.
person reviewing sharps bin for disposal of needles - after self-administering an injection

Harm reduction is an evidence-based approach for the engagement with people who use drugs that meets people where they are at. The purpose is to provide individuals with the tools that can potentially save their lives and link them to resources of need. A harm reduction approach emphasizes engagement directly with people who use drugs to prevent overdose and the spread of infectious disease transmission; improve physical, mental, and social wellbeing; and offer low barrier options for accessing health care services, including substance use and mental health disorder treatment (SAMHSA).  

Harm Reduction for overdose prevention activities in Nevada include (but not limited to): 

  • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder 
  • Overdose Reversal Medication 
  • Fentanyl & Xylazine Test Strips 
  • Clean Needle Exchange Programs 
  • Sharps disposal and medication disposal  

Harm Reduction Resources


National Harm Reduction Coalition

The National Harm Reduction Coalition works to increase access to evidence-based harm reduction strategies like overdose prevention and syringe access programs.

National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC)

The National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC) provides free help to anyone in the country providing (or planning to provide) harm reduction services to their community. This may include syringe services programs, health departments, programs providing treatment for substance use disorder, as well as prevention and recovery programs.

Tools & Resources

Infographics and step-by-step instructions.
Trac-B seeks to improve the quality of life of those affected by substance use disorders including our clients, their loved ones, and their communities. Trac-B Exchange provides harm reduction services and supplies to people engaged in the sex trade and people who are injecting or misusing drugs or other substances and are at risk for violence and communicable diseases including Hepatitis C and HIV.
This toolkit was imagined and created by Arlene Brown, member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, with support from NHRC staff, including Jessica Smith. It has been informed by Tribal and Urban Native people from across California and brings together resources from Indigenous harm reduction leaders from across the country and beyond.
A list and map of Fentanyl Test Strip Distribution Sites in Nevada.
Toll-free national overdose prevention, detection, life-saving crisis response and medical intervention services for people who use drugs while alone. Never Use Alone’s peer operators are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
This toolkit provides guidance to a wide range of individuals on preventing and responding to an overdose. The toolkit also emphasizes that harm reduction and access to treatment are essential aspects of overdose prevention.
This guide includes Naloxone Distribution in Nevada guidelines and best practices for community based organizations.
A Nevada provider's guide to prescribing Naloxone to patients who use opioids.
This CDC resource discusses the safety and effectiveness of Syringe services programs (SSPs) which are proven and effective community-based prevention programs that can provide a range of services and protect the public and first responders by facilitating the safe disposal of used needles and syringes.
The SAMHSA Harm Reduction Framework is the first document to comprehensively outline harm reduction and its role within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Framework will inform SAMHSA’s harm reduction activities moving forward, as well as related policies, programs, and practices. 
A toolkit addressing faith and faith leadership in engaging with people who use drugs and harm reduction practices.
This CDC resource highlights the critical role of Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV, among people who inject drugs. SSPs offer various services, including access to sterile syringes, testing, counseling, and referrals to substance use disorder treatment, significantly reducing the risk of infections and overdose deaths. Research indicates that SSPs are safe, effective, and associated with positive outcomes, including increased entry into drug treatment and reduced drug use. Additionally, SSPs collaborate with law enforcement to provide naloxone and safe needle disposal, contributing to community safety.222
This comprehensive guide provides information and recommendations regarding general health, safer use practices, common viral, fungal, parasitic, and other injection-related infections, overdose and overamp, tapering, withdrawal, medications for opioid use disorder, and seeking medical care.

Posters & Infographics

The Harm Reduction Social Media Toolkit is designed to help share knowledge about the dangers of opioid use, learn how to prevent opioid overdose/poisoning, and provide education on harm reduction. The toolkit is available for anyone to download during the six weeks leading up to International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The toolkit was created and designed by the Pacific Southwest Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional center (ROTA-R) to raise awareness of harm reduction and opioid overdose prevention. #Itsallharmreduction

Harm Reduction Social Media Toolkit

The Harm Reduction Social Media Toolkit is designed to help share knowledge about the dangers of opioid use, learn how to prevent opioid overdose/poisoning, and provide education on harm reduction.
Get the Toolkit
Addressing and Reducing Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Prescribe 365 Brochure

This brochure is for providers to print and display in their offices encouraging patients to openly discuss safe use of opioids.
Download Brochure
"What is Harm Reduction?" Poster from the Pacific Southwest ROTA-R

What is Harm Reduction? (Poster)

This poster identifies some of the most common harm reduction methods in an attempt to normalize the term "harm reduction" and broaden the definition.
Download the Poster
A Guide to Wound Care Self-management for People Who Use Drugs Caring for a wound 1 5 2 6 3 4 Wash your hands with soap and water, or wear gloves. For larger wounds, wrap the area with medical bandage. Clean the wound with soap and water and dry well. Do not use alcohol or hand sanitizer to clean a wound. Change the gauze or medical bandage twice per day. Apply antibiotic cream to the wound surface. Cover the wound with sterile gauze and secure with a bandage. 4.23When to seek medical care If you experience any of these issues, the wound may be serious and need medical attention. To find a health care provider, call 311 or 844-692-4692. For support for people who use drugs, including harm reduction and medication services, visit nyc.gov/alcoholanddrugs. The wound gets larger, deeper, more painful or tender. There is a foreign object, such as a needle tip, in the wound. There is spreading redness, red streaks around the edges of the wound or a darkened border. There is increased discharge or the presence of pus, or the wound smells. The wound is over an artery or on the face, neck, hands, feet or chest. You experience fever or chills, shortness of breath, weakness, muscle pain, and fatigue.

Wound Care Pocket Card

This pocket card from NYC.gov is a guide to wound care self-management for people who use drugs.
Download the Wound Care Pocket Card


There are strategies that can assist community leaders, local and regional organizers, non-profit groups, law enforcement, public health, and members of the public in understanding and navigating effective ways to prevent opioid overdose in their communities. Use this information as a reference for evidence-based practices that have been successfully implemented in the U.S.
Research indicates that there is often a reluctance among those witnessing an overdose to summon emergency assistance from law enforcement or other first responders out of fear of arrest for drug possession or other charges. In an effort to reduce this fear and to encourage overdose witnesses to seek help, state policymakers developed Good Samaritan laws specific to drug overdoses. The purpose of these laws is to prioritize the overdose victim’s safety over arresting drug users by granting limited protection from criminal liability to persons seeking medical assistance and, in most cases, to the overdose victim. This document (1) provides a singular resource for each jurisdiction’s laws; (2) allows for a comparison of these laws between jurisdictions; and (3) identifies and highlights interesting provisions.
This document provides information on xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer used as an additive in illicit drug supplies, notably in combination with heroin and fentanyl. It discusses the effects of xylazine use, including sedation and potential risks such as hypotension and bradycardia. The document also emphasizes harm reduction interventions for individuals who may encounter xylazine in the drug supply, including the use of naloxone for responding to overdoses and the importance of wound identification and treatment.

Webinars & Online Learning

Current News & Research

Harm Reduction: Findings from the Field

Alexander, C. (2024, May 07). Harm Reduction: Findings from the Field. [Blog post]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Blog. https://www.samhsa.gov/blog/harm-reduction-findings-field