Harm reduction is a component of the continuum of care and a comprehensive preventative strategy. Methods of harm reduction have been shown to prevent overdoses, diseases, and deaths. Harm reduction effectively addresses the public health epidemic involving substance misuse, infectious diseases, and other adverse effects of drug use. Specifically, services for harm reduction can:


  • Provide information on overdoses, counseling, and referrals to treatment for infectious diseases and drug use issues.


  • Distribute naloxone or other drugs that reverse opioid overdose to anyone who may overdose or is at risk of doing so.


  • Reduce the risk of infectious diseases such as HIV, viral hepatitis, bacterial infections, and fungal infections resulting from drug use and related conduct.


  • Reduce the transmission of infectious diseases among drug users, including injectors, by providing them with accurate information and facilitating referral to resources.


  • As part of a comprehensive, integrated strategy, reduce overdose deaths, improve access to care, and facilitate co-location of services.


  • Reduce the stigma associated with coexisting disorders and substance misuse.


  • Promote a philosophy of hope and healing by involving individuals with personal recovery experience in the management of harm reduction services and by connecting individuals with treatment, peer support workers, and other recovery-related resources.



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OPTIONS Maine liaisons  serve as a judgment-free point of contact who will meet people where they are in terms of their substance use.

2-1-1 Maine

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2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral service based in Maine available 24/7 that connects people of all ages to local services.