Helping Drug Users Survive, Not Abstain: ‘Harm Reduction’ Gains Federal Support

The New York Times’ writer, Abby Goodnough, provides a stirring article on recent developments pertaining to the Biden Administration’s support for harm reduction programs. Goodnough captivates readers with an elaborate discussion on Federal funding for “evidence-based harm reduction programs,” while also focusing on the impacts of the trickle-down effects of the pandemic and the perpetuation of stigma on individuals with substance use disorders.


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Party Drugs Are Being Increasingly Laced With Fentanyl

With the comeback of parties and nightlife, previously limited by COVID-19 restrictions, overdoses caused by fentanyl-laced cocaine have increased. NPR’s article assesses possible causes for the prevalence of fentanyl-laced cocaine, circulating a discussion around poly-substance use, the origins of substance mixing within cocaine supplies, and, finally, measures that should be taken to increase education and awareness around cocaine consumption.

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Racial disparities in opioid addiction treatment: a primer and research roundup

Naseem S. Miller investigates the intersectionality of health, race and gender in her article evaluating racial disparities in treatments for opioid use disorder. Miller connects the extensive history of systematic racism in the United States with drug policy, leading into an evidence- based discussion of disparities in treatment, especially as they pertain to MOUD.

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Integrating Harm Reduction into Outpatient Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Settings

“Integrating Harm Reduction into Outpatient Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Settings” is a must read, as Taylor et al. provide strategies and tools for “the integration of evidence-based harm reduction principles and interventions into OUD treatment settings.” The authors’ expertise and understanding of the multifaceted nature of OUD and the complex, yet different, needs of each patient is evident as the authors guide and support providers on how to best care for patients.

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Oregon’s Pioneering Drug Decriminalization Experiment Is Now Facing The Hard Test

NPR’s article narrates the trials and tribulations that follow Oregon’s drug decriminalization after the passing of Measure 110. The progressive policy is under spectacle as it sets the stage for major changes in American drug policy for the first time since Nixon’s War on Drugs. Engage with the article’s discussion of the inhumanity behind drug policies across America, rooted deeply in historic, systematic injustice. Equally as important, take note of the concerns and challenges that come with implementing a policy that some institutions and communities were not prepared to embrace.

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“Require access to Rx for opioid-use disorder in prisons, jails”

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates hosted a Special Meeting this month to expand on, and amend, AMA policies concerning justice-involved individuals with substance use disorders. Several policies were altered to make access to quality, evidence-based care more effective and inclusive to all individuals in jails and prisons, as well as those in re-entry programs. Follow the list of the AMA’s policy modifications, reflecting the importance of team-based treatment, counseling, education, and funding for those experiencing substance use disorders within United States’ justice systems.


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“Syringe Distribution Programs Can Improve Public Health During the Opioid Overdose Crisis”

An article published by Pew Charitable Trusts informs individuals of the purpose for syringe services programs (SSPs) through a multifaceted analysis of trends in public health. The article accentuates the need for SSPs, as such programs advocate for harm reduction strategies, reduce stigmatization, and incentivize individuals experiencing substance use disorders to reach out for supportive treatment. Pew’s article investigates the toxicity of misinformation and stigmatization: State legislatures fail to correlate increasing rates of infectious diseases and overdoses with unsterile syringe practices, especially as access to prescribed opioids becomes more restrictive and illicit opioids become more prevalent. The article is a great source for policymakers to understand the merit and necessity of SSPs operations, including how these programs are safely and effectively established.


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“If Lawmakers Really Want to Follow the Science They Will Repeal Codified Opioid Guidelines”

Jeffrey A. Singer’s article, published by CATO Institute, reveals recent evidence of the reluctance of lawmakers to adhere to the science behind medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD) across the country, correlating to rises in overdose death rates. This article is a critique on codified barriers implemented by policymakers, from restrictions in dosing within Medicare and Medicaid to the perpetuation of stigma that coincides with substance use disorders as a byproduct of refuting science. Singer’s critique is exposing a need for policymakers to face the facts, trust the science, and advocate for our communities.

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