Harms from Drug Abuse are Minimized

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While it would be ideal if a magic wand (or even a comprehensive strategy) could eliminate drug misuse and addiction, the reality is that many people will continue to misuse drugs for at least a while, prior to (hopefully) making it to long-term recovery.  As having an SUD is increasingly recognized as having a disease rather than a moral failing, part of the strategy should focus on minmizing the harms that occur while a person is using opioids or other drugs.  By taking a harm reduction strategy, the personal and societal costs of the addiction epidemic can be significantly reduced while other parts of the strategy can make progress in reducing the misuse of drugs overall. 



The many "harms" that result from opioid and other drug misuse and addiction can should be reduced by a comprehensive strategy to address the opioid and addiction crisis. While some of that reduction in harm is a direct result of fewer people misusing drugs and developing Substance Use Disorders, harm can also be reduced by strategies that specifically focus on reducing harm even while people are misusing opioids or other drugs. 

This objective is about the actual reduction in harms that are accomplished by the strategies.  It is an Outcome objective.  In this Objective, we will define the specific harms that the strategy is designed to reduce, and there will be meaures to monitor the progress, at the local level, of reducing those harms.   The details for the strategies will be described in the many Strategy Objectives that will help to contribute to this outcome. 

Since other Outcome objectives specifically address things like overdose deaths, babies born with SUDs, Foster Care costs and employment-related harms, this Objective will specifically focus on: 

  • Fewer people who experience an overdose will die because of the use of overdose reversal medications
  • Fewer women who are using opioids get pregnant so fewer babies are born dependent
  • Fewer people contract needle-transmitted diseases like HIV or hepatitis C
  • Accidental overdoses are reduced by having safe injection sites that reduce risk factors
  • Accidental overdoses are reduced because testing for Fentanyl helps people know the potency of what is being used
  • Fewer infectious diseases are transmitted because screening identifies people who have infectious diseases so targeted interventions can minimize the spreading of those diseases