Harm reduction is a set of ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with substance misuse for individuals, their families, and communities by meeting people where they are. The practice extends to many services including disease prevention, syringe exchange, safer use practices, and linking people to housing, food access, insurance, medical care, substance use treatment, and behavioral health services. Harm reduction practices are used by everybody, every day.
Harm reduction services are provided at many local health departments in Kentucky as established in Senate Bill 192. Services are available free of cost to any person who uses drugs, regardless of the method. These programs are a great resource to obtain harm reduction supplies and provide linkages to critical services and programs, including substance use treatment, HIV and viral hepatitis screening, vaccinations, social and behavioral health services, employment opportunities, and other clinical and social programs. For more information about legality, please see KRS 218A.
Currently at the Estill County Health Department the following Harm Reduction Services are offered:
- Syringe Disposal
- Connect patients with peer support and/or treatment facilities.
- Assist family members in getting access to resources to help get their family get into treatment or court ordered rehab.
- Assist family members in getting help when dealing with addicts in their family
- Hepatitis C Treatment
- Distribution of Narcan and education on the correct usage of Narcan.
- Wound care kits and education regarding how to care for wounds
- Education about proper cleaning techniques and using different injection sites to prevent abscesses, scars, and hardening of the veins with excessive use of the same site.
- STD testing