This week, International Overdose Awareness Day was recognized around the world to honor the people whose lives have been lost to overdose.
Last year, 2,135 Kentuckians lost their lives to a drug overdose. And while that was a decline of about 5% from the previous year, the compassionate staff at Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness’ Harm Reduction Outreach Services knows that every overdose death can be prevented. Even one death is too much. But the decline gives us hope that the harm reduction strategies being used across Louisville and the state are working.
Harm reduction is a set of evidence-based, practical strategies aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. It includes a spectrum of strategies including safer use, managed use, abstinence, and treating people who use drugs with dignity and compassion and meeting them “where they are” to help them regain a healthy life and reduce the impact of drug use on the community.
Our harm reduction services include screening and linkage to care for HIV and viral hepatitis, providing free Narcan and overdose prevention education, free fentanyl test strips, safe syringe disposal, referrals to treatment providers, and other social, mental health, medical services and recovery resources. Services are anonymous and free and operated in partnership with UK – Target Four, and the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition.
Anyone can help reverse an overdose and potentially save someone’s life. If you would like to obtain free Narcan you can visit any of our 10 harm reduction serviceslocations during operating hours or call 502-574-8800.