With harm reduction strategies increasingly being talked about and recognized as helpful, health officials made the push to provide local officials and law enforcement their first Harm Reduction Summit in Frederick on Wednesday.
“This is part of an evolution of our effort to bring new information, and innovation in the whole field of helping people suffer from drug and alcohol abuse,” said Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Frederick County (Md) Health Officer.
It also aims to provide feasible strategies for organizations and share misconceptions about substance use disorders as well as offer treatment and harm reduction strategies.
“Too often, the overdoses that result in deaths, it’s because somebody is using alone,” said Dr. Brookmyer. “They’re using behind a lot or a closed door, and they’re not discovered until it’s too late to resuscitate them.
The Harm Reduction Summit was coordinated by the Syringe Services Program, and hosted by the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Frederick County Health Department.
Syringe Services Program coordinator of the Frederick County Behavioral Health Services, Jessica Ellis said, “We also provide testing for HIV, Hepatitis C and soon, syphilis, as well as overdose response training which we’ve been doing since 2014.”
The Syringe Services Program is just one of many harm reduction strategies that the health department currently uses to teach people all across the board how to incorporate harm reduction into their practice.
Frederick County Health officials also say they are working with specific agencies to distribute fentanyl strips (a way for individuals to perform drug testing), which health officials say has been proven to increase overdose prevention.