Harm reduction is a perspective and set of practical strategies to reduce the negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use to abstinence.
Harm reduction recognizes that drug use exists along a continuum and that abstinence can be one of many goals. It recognizes that people who use drugs are much more than their use, and that drug related harm cannot be assumed.
Over the past five years, there has been a sharp increase in opiate overdoses and opiate related overdose deaths.
In Connecticut, between 2009 and 2015, over 2,500 opiate involved overdoses occurred in all but 17 of Connecticut's cities and towns. In 2015 alone, there were 697 accidental and undetermined opiate involved overdose deaths, 639 of which occurred among CT residents. (Dr. Lauretta Grau, Yale; from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner)
The demographics are: 70% male, 84% white, mean age of 40 years, 70% pharmaceutical opioid involved, 82% occurred in a residence, and the data shows an increase in heroin involved deaths between 2012- 14.