In the realm of addiction recovery programs, there has been a lot of talk concerning harm reduction. Specifically, when it relates to opiate addicts and other intravenous drug users. Essentially, harm reduction is strategic methods, set in place to properly educate the “using public” on various topics; ranging from safe use (i.e. needle exchange) to programs of abstinence. Considering the designs of harm reduction are for specific community and individual needs, there is no set definition or formula.

Recovery Programs and More

At Oregon Trail Recovery, we are strictly an abstinence, 12-step program. However, there are still some aspects to harm reduction that we can certainly get behind. For one, harm reduction accepts that illicit drug use is a part of the world we live in today. Vilifying those who abuse illicit substances does not minimize the problem and neither does ignoring it. In addition, we know that education is an invaluable tool for addicts in recovery.

The main consequence which comes to mind involves their physical health. Harm reduction efforts focus on educating the public. Diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, can plague a community of illicit drug users. In this case, medical testing, support, and education is important for users.

Harm Reduction Education

Harm reduction also aims to educate the public about safe sex, which essentially falls under the category of self-care. We at Oregon Trail Recovery constantly stress to our clients the importance of self-care, especially how it relates to their physical well-being. It is safe to say that while most of us were in our active addictions, we did not always take care of ourselves.

To prevent these adverse effects, we can meet half way, and present the importance of safe sex in a non-judgmental way, ensuring our client that they are always safe and that we have their best interest at heart.

Join Us At Oregon Trail Recovery

As addicts in recovery, we at OTR know that we cannot fight this disease alone and we need every resource, including a detox program, to help our clients. Harm Reduction offers several tools we can employ to help our clients while still steering them towards a life which is abstinent from all drugs and alcohol.

We encourage you to learn more about harm reduction in your community and how it can best benefit you or anyone else who suffers from the crippling disease of addiction.


J. Dalton Williams

Client Support Specialist