Harm Reduction

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  


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

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.

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 toolkit addressing faith and faith leadership in engaging with people who use drugs and harm reduction practices.

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. 

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.

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.

Change Point is a Harm Reduction program which include Syringe Exchange Services and Sexual Health Services.

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 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.

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.

Posters & Infographics

"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

Webinars & Online Learning

In this recorded webinar, panelists provide a brief overview of Xylazine, a substance newly found in illicit drug supplies, and its impacts on the unsheltered community. Panelists will share their lived expertise with xylazine, its effects, organizational best practices for wound care, overdose response, and harm reduction. 

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