Harm Reduction Workshop: Naloxone, Syringe Exchanges, and Social Justice

Most of us are well aware of the issues surrounding drug abuse in the US. Three of the five states with the highest drug overdose death rates in 2015 are in Appalachia, and seven Appalachian states experienced drug overdose death rate increases from 2014 to 2015. While some political responses to drug overdose have regressively further criminalized users, many Appalachian states and communities are seeking alternatives to criminalization. These harm reduction programs intended to lessen the negative consequences of drug use may come in various forms, including implementation of syringe exchange programs, increasing access to health care for viral and bacterial infections, and providing naloxone to first responders, individuals who use drugs, and their families. This workshop will begin by providing a half hour summary of these efforts and examples of successful programs in Appalachia. The last half hour of the workshop will focus on providing necessary skills to administer naloxone to someone who is overdosing. Fifteen minutes will be left to answer questions and discuss the issues at hand. Naloxone kits will be provided for everyone to take with them at the end of the workshop. Due to the nature of this workshop, participation will be limited to 20 attendees. If there is demand, we would be able to offer an additional workshop immediately before or after the proposed single workshop.