What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use.
Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies that includes safer use, managed use, abstinence, meeting people who use drugs “where they’re at,” and addressing conditions of use along with the use itself. Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve people who use drugs reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction. (The National Harm Reduction Coalition).
The 8 principles of Harm Reduction:
1. Accepts, for better or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them
2. Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe use to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others
3. Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being — not necessarily cessation of all drug use — as the criteria for successful interventions and policies
4. Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm
5. Ensures that people who use drugs and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them
2. Affirms people who use drugs (PWUD) themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use and seeks to empower PWUD to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use
7. Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm
8. Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger that can be associated with illicit drug use
Harm Reduction Services
Definition of NARCAN / Naloxone:
Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.
The medication can be given into the nose, into the muscle, under the skin, or via intravenous injection.
Learn how to administer NARCAN / Naloxone:
The Sierra Harm Reduction Coalition
Sierra Harm Reduction Coalition (SHRC)
Sierra Harm Reduction Coalition (SHRC) services provide positive reinforcement to catalyze change for individuals using drugs in the unique community of El Dorado County. Their commitment is to scrape away the barriers created by stigma and discrimination towards drug users.
Safer Using Supplies
Syringe Collection and Disposal
FREE Narcan Distribution + Fentanyl Testing Supplies
Training and Education
Referrals to essential services
California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard