Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Programs: Everything You Need to Know
The numbers of alcohol and drug-related overdoses are on the rise, especially amidst the opioid epidemic, and state officials are determined to minimize the risks. While there have been many efforts to mitigate the rise in drug abuse, there seem to be too many loose strings. The number of opioid-related overdose deaths rose from 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 in 2017.1 In an attempt to make an impact, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Programs have been set in place. Our drug rehab in Pennsylvania has looked into these programs and has broken down its pros and cons.
What is the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition?
The Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Programs are the results of the combined efforts of various organizations, including addiction treatment providers, harm reduction programs, medical personnel, social service agencies, law enforcement, and volunteers. This movement advocates for the dignity and human rights of individuals battling with addiction and the communities that have been impacted by this disease. Their mission is to educate the public and legislators on education, provide naloxone, lead harm reduction training, give treatment overdose prevention, and provide syringe service programs.
At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we appreciate efforts to lower the overdose rates and prevent the numbers from rising again. While the harm reduction programs in Pennsylvania can help, addiction treatment is one of the most efficient ways to recover from substance abuse. Our residential treatment program has helped many of our patients safely and successfully achieve sobriety.
A Closer Look at the Harm Reduction Coalition
The Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition (PAHRC) offers a variety of services that are geared toward preventing further opioid-related deaths and encouraging addicts to get sober. Below are some of the measures they’re taking to make this change possible.
This particular program is centered on finding and organizing volunteers into teams to effectively reach more of the public and legislators. People who wish to volunteer their efforts will undergo advocacy training sessions where they will gain knowledge on recovery, bill enactment, policy advocacy, and how to communicate with elected officials. The H.E.R.O. program can help people learn how addiction is addressed in bills and laws. It’s important to know what bills are currently in place and how they affect individuals with addictions.
Naloxone is a medication that is designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. This kind of medication is slowly becoming more available for addiction recovery. A naloxone distribution program in Massachusetts reported an 11 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths in the communities that implemented the program.2 As part of their efforts to prevent further opioid-related deaths, the PAHRC is offering naloxone distribution services to prisons, jails, organizations, and individuals. Their Treatment Overdose Prevention (TOP) Campaign also involves distributing naloxone to those in need.
Harm Reduction Training
Because the PAHRC wants to educate the public and elected officials about addiction and actions that can possibly reduce overdose rates, they’re offering training for a variety of groups ranging from law enforcement officials to parents. The more education offered on the signs of addiction and its impact, the more drug abuse can be further prevented and treated.
Syringe Service Programs
Opioids like heroin are often injected, which contributes to the prevalence of HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C in individuals with heroin addictions. The PAHRC wants to prevent further illness by implementing syringe service programs (SSP). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these programs offer services like an introduction to substance abuse treatment, access to and disposal of needles, vaccination, testing, and treatment for diseases.3 SSPs are also linked to an estimated 50% reduction in HIV and HCV infections.4
As the opioid epidemic worsens, actions are being taken to prevent drug-related overdoses and deaths in the United States. The Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Programs are one of the many methods utilized in the fight against substance abuse.
If you’re battling with addiction, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get professional help. We offer various substance abuse treatments, including an opiate addiction treatment. For more information, call us today at 570-536-9621.