Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention and Response
Have you seen our anti-stigma campaign materials? Below is a sample of the graphics in our campaign. Campaign funding made possible by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Click here for our quarterly harm reduction and opioid response newsletter: October 2023 (the next one will be out in early January 2024!)
Apply for a Narcan™ Emergency Box for your place of business! Boxes, wall signs, Narcan™ and training are provided at no cost.
What is harm reduction? The National Harm Reduction Coalition (2021) defines harm reduction as a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
Meriden has a program that distributes harm reduction materials and links persons to treatment and recovery resources. Please click here for information on the Meriden Opioid Referral for Recovery (MORR) program or watch the short video below.
NALOXONE - Carry it!
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication. It is a short acting medication that can reverse a lethal dosage of opioids by temporarily blocking the effects of the drug. Narcan restores someone's ability to breath allowing time to access medical attention. Narcan can be administered into the muscle or as a nasal spray, which is fairly simple to administer and harmless if administered to an individual who is not overdosing.
WE OFFER FREE NARCAN TRAINING AND MEDICATION DISPOSAL BAGS. Please call Elizabeth, our Public Health Educator, at 203-630-4288 for more information. A free Narcan kit is given to everyone that takes our training.
OVERDOSE PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
What are opioids?
Opioids are prescription medications legally prescribed by a doctor to relieve pain (e.g. Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin).
Opioids are also synthetically made in a lab and illegally sold on the streets (e.g. heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil).
While pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short period of time, under a doctor’s supervision, opioids are frequently misused. Regular use of these pain killers, even when prescribed by a doctor, can result in dependence.
Why are opioids dangerous? Opioids are designed to relieve pain, but when taken in excess the body’s automatic drive to breathe is diminished. Mixing an opiate with alcohol and/or benzodiazepines, can be fatal as these substances also slow your respiratory system.
What is contributing to the rise in overdoses? A powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl, which is 50-100x more potent than morphine is being mixed into most street drugs (heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines’, counterfeit pills). Due to it’s strength, it only takes a small amount to be a lethal dose.
Opioid Safety Tips:
Don’t Mix Drugs: especially opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol – they all slow your ability to breath.
Don’t use alone– use with friends, let people know when you’re using, always have a cellphone with you.
Be aware of your tolerance: Regular use builds tolerance, change in your weight, or recent abstinence can affect that. If you relapse, returning to use the same amount as you did before will increase your risk for overdose.
Quality/Strength:Drug quality/strength can be unpredictable, know your source.
Have unwanted or expired medication in your home? Take it to the drop box at the Meriden Police Department! It is available 24/7/365. Do not flush medications down the toilet! Flushing medications causes water pollution, negatively impacting our drinking water and environment.
STIGMA - Language Matters!
Stigma is perceived negative attribute that causes someone to devalue or think less of the whole person. Many individuals who have an Opioid Use Disorder often also suffer from unaddressed mental health issues, trauma, and ostracism, making the road to recovery delicate and complicated. Compassion in language used to address opioid users is key in creating social change, reducing shame, and illuminating a path to recovery.
A person with substance use disorder
Substance free, or negative or positive drug screen
Person arrested for drug violation
Person in recovery
Use, misuse, substance disorder
Medication Assisted Treatment
NOT that : an addict, junkie
NOT: clean or dirty
NOT drug offender
NOT ex addict
NOT Problem, habit or abuse
NOT Opioid Replacement
2023 data is preliminary and is as of November 7, 2023. Source: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.