Part of CORI’s mission is to provide education and information regarding evidence-based treatment practices for addiction. Death due to opioid overdoses have increased steadily since 2000 (with the exception of 2018).1 The COVID 19 pandemic and dangerous synthetic opioids (including, but not limited to, fentanyl) have exacerbated the already existing opioid epidemic. Harm reduction is acceptance of the fact that drugs aren’t going anywhere and the acknowledgement and belief that drug use shouldn’t (and doesn’t have to) be a death sentence. A harm reduction approach allows organizations to meet people where they’re at and may serve as a pathway to additional prevention, treatment and recovery services.2
(Image taken from MN Department of Health's Drug Overdose Dashboard that can be found here)
Harm reduction asks the question: if you’re going to use drugs, how can you be safe about it? When implemented properly, harm reduction can lessen the harm associated with drug use, reduce infectious disease transmission, reduce overdose deaths, reduce the stigma associated with substance use and co-occurring disorders, and promote a philosophy of hope and healing.2
One harm reduction strategy includes the use of Naloxone, also known as Narcan. Naloxone is a medicine that has the ability to reverse an opioid overdose and can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection. Naloxone is legal for MN residents to carry because of Minnesota’s Good Samaritan Law.
We wanted to take an opportunity to provide Naloxone resources (where to get Naloxone and where to find trainings) for those who need them.
From the Department of Health’s website:
Statewide Community-based Organizations
As a part of the State Targeted Response (STR) Grants through Department of Human Services (DHS), organizations were awarded funds to provide Naloxone overdose training and kits free of charge. The following community-based organizations provide naloxone training and kits free of charge:
- Steve Rummler HOPE Network—Call 952-943-3937 or sign up for training from the Steve Rummler HOPE Network.
- Rural AIDS Action Network (RAAN)—Call 320-257-3036.
- Red Door Clinic—Call 612-543-5555.
- Indigenous Peoples Task Force—Call 612-870-1723.
- LSS StreetWorks Collaborative—Call 612-354-3345 or e-mail [email protected].
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office and Steve Rummler Hope Network also offer virtual Naloxone trainings. Anyone can sign up for the Sheriff Office’s training by e-mailing [email protected] and will receive their own Narcan kit upon class completion. Steve Rummler Hope Network’s online training can be found here.
American Red Cross offers First Aid for Opioid Overdoses Online Course for $20 that can be found here.
Another resource for finding Naloxone near you can be found here.
For organizations, SAMHSA and the CDC have teamed up on a National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance center (TA center) to support efforts to expand capacity, increase effectiveness, and strengthen the performance and accountability of harm reduction services.2 The TA Center can be found here and provides a comprehensive approach to harm reduction.
People need to be alive in order to recover. Harm reduction makes that scenario much more likely. With a compassionate, evidence-based approach that meets people where they’re at, we can save many lives.
1 MN Department of Health. "Drug Overdose Dashboard." health.state.mn.us. https://www.health.state.mn.us/opioiddashboard
2 SAMHSA. “Harm Reduction." SAMHSA.gov. June 8, 2022. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/harm-reduction