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What is Harm Reduction?

MHRE.pngHarm reduction is a set of ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with substance misuse for individuals, their families and communities by meeting people where they are. The practice extends to many services including disease prevention, syringe exchange, safer use practices and linking people to housing, food access, insurance, medical care, substance use treatment and behavioral health services. Harm reduction practices are used by everybody, every day.​

Harm reduction services are provided at many local health departments in Kentucky as established in Senate Bill 192. Services are available free of cost to any person who uses drugs, regardless of method. These programs are a great resource to obtain harm reduction supplies such as sterile syringes, naloxone, wound care kits and fentanyl test strips. Additionally, these programs provide linkages to critical services and programs, including substance use treatment, HIV and viral hepatitis screening, vaccinations, social and behavioral health services, employment opportunities and other clinical and social programs. For more information about legality, please see KRS 218A.​​

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What is Harm Reduction?
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Mobile Harm Reduction Unit

Upcoming Harm Reduction Events

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Looking to attend a mobile harm reduction event?
View the calendar

Hosting an event?
Request the mobile u​nit

Harm Reduc​​​​tion Summit

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Kentucky’s annual Harm Reduction Summit brings together professionals from many different fields to discuss best practices and novel research in fields related to harm reduction. The two-day event will include national, state, regional and local guest speakers in multiple breakout sessions and panel discussions. 

This year’s summit will be held virtually Aug. 10 – 11​, 2022. Participation in the summit is free of charge. 

Registration will available Summer 2022. To receive an email when registration opens sign up for the summit email notification list.

Save the Date: Aug. 10-11, 2022​​​

2021 Harm Reduction Summit Recordings​

2021 Harm Reduction Summit Continuing Education​

First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

In 2019, the Kentucky Department for Public Health was awarded the First Responders- Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (FR-CARA) grant by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The goal of the FR-CARA grant in Kentucky is to expand naloxone training and dispensing for first responders throughout rural Appalachian counties and to increase awareness for ongoing harm reduction activities and personal safety measures for opioid exposures.

See if your county and profession are eligible: FR-CARA Fact Sheet​

Syringe Services Program (SSP) Expansion Project​​

In partnership with KORE, DPH offers mini grants to local health departments with SSPs to extend their service capacity. For the 2021-22 grant period, KDPH awarded 40 SSPs up to $35,000 to complete activities such as increased hours of operation, hiring a peer support specialist or targeting vulnerable populations for services.

Want to be stay in touch with DPH Harm Reduction? Request to be added to the contact list here.