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What you can learn

HARM REDUCTION

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PHYSICAL HEALTH IMPACTS

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MENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a public health approach that focuses on mitigating harmful consequences of substance use. These practices are designed to prevent overdoses and the transmission of infectious diseases that can result from substance use.

Harm Reduction practices include:

  • Distributing Narcan/Naloxone 

  • Distributing Fentanyl test strips

  • Distributing Xylazine test strips

  • Providing sterile use equipment for snorting, smoking, and injecting

  • Syringe disposal

  • Providing first aid and wound care supplies

  • Peer support

  • and more!

Maggie Seldeen
Harm Reduction

Naloxone/Narcan Distribution Sites

Naloxone is a powerful tool that can reverse overdose and save lives. Naloxone can be carried by anyone who is willing to step in during an overdose and reverse it. 

The following map shows the locations you can get Naloxone for FREE.

Narcan

How to administer Narcan

Step 1: Shake & Shout

Try to wake the person up. If there is no response, grind your knuckles on the center of the person's chest for 10-15 seconds.

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Step 2: Call 911

The Third Party Naloxone Law allows for a person, who acts in good faith, to administer Naloxone to a person who is believed to be suffering from an opiate-related overdose. You must stay with the person until help arrives.

The Good Samaritan Law in Colorado protects individuals from prosecution when reporting a drug or alcohol overdose in good faith to law enforcement. 

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Step 3: Administer Naloxone

Watch the following video for step by step instructions on how to administer Narcan/Naloxone. 

Step 4: Prepare to give a second dose

If the person does not wake in 3 minutes, give a second dose of Naloxone.

If the person starts to breathe normally, turn them on their side to prevent choking and wait for help to arrive.

Step 5: Stay with the person

Naloxone wears off in 30-90 minutes. You must stay with the person until emergency services arrive.

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For more harm reduction information visit: 

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Physical Health Impacts

The following sections detail the general health deterioration, health conditions, and associated chronic issues that can result from substance use disorders (SUDs).

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General Health Deterioration

  • Long-term substance use can lead to general health decline and specific ongoing conditions. 

    • These conditions include, but are not limited to, heart disease, elevated blood pressure, infectious diseases, and chronic illnesses. 

  • Hard drug use in young adults is associated with subsequent self-rated health decline, even after discontinuation.

  • Tobacco use contributes significantly to poor health outcomes, with a high prevalence among SUD treatment clients.

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Related Health Conditions

  • Substance use increases the risk of cardiovascular problems and heart disease.

  • Cocaine and alcohol use are linked to elevated blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • Substance use can lead to hypertension and increase the risk of strokes. 

  • Injection drug use increases the risk of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

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Schulte, M. T., & Hser, Y. I. (2014). Substance Use and Associated Health Conditions throughout the Lifespan. Public health reviews, 35(2), https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20150206061220/http://www.publichealthreviews.eu/upload/pdf_files/14/00_Schulte_Hser.pdf. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391702

Mental Health Impacts

Mental Health Conditions

  • Substance use disorders are associated with increased risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, mood disorders, and antisocial personality disorder.

  • PTSD and substance use have an associated relationship, with individuals using drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma.

  • Mood disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder commonly co-occur with substance use disorders, leading to an increased risk of suicide attempts.

  • Antisocial personality disorder is often diagnosed alongside substance use disorders, contributing to more severe symptoms.

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Find Mental Health Resources Near You! 

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Garfield County

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Pitkin County

Summit County

Schulte, M. T., & Hser, Y. I. (2014). Substance Use and Associated Health Conditions throughout the Lifespan. Public health reviews, 35(2), https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20150206061220/http://www.publichealthreviews.eu/upload/pdf_files/14/00_Schulte_Hser.pdf. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391702

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