There are ways you can stay safer and healthier if you choose to use. And you are worth it! At the HaRRT Center, we have compiled and are scientifically testing the following safer-use strategies for alcohol, stimulants, and depressants. Please contact us if you have questions about these tips.
Evidence-based safer alcohol-use tips:
Safer Use Alcohol
Using uppers or stimulants (meth, crystal, cocaine, crack)? Here are some tips for you…
Safer Use Stimulants
Using downers/depressants (opioids like heroin, fentanyl, oxys or benzos or barbituates)? Here are some safer-use tips that can save your life.
Safer Use Depressants
**And here’s an additional special note about opioids. It’s harder to know what you are getting these days. Heroin (and other drugs) are being cut with various, new synthetic opioids (fentanyl, carfentanyl, sufentanil). These synthetics are between 50-10,000 times stronger than the mother of all opioids, morphine. For an example, check out this photo comparing lethal doses of heroin vs fentanyl (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/fentanyl-deadlier-heroin-single-photo/).
Bottom line: Be careful when you are getting off because we love you and you are worth it! Here are some extra, potentially life-saving tips for opioid users.
- Always try to use around other people you trust. They can give you rescue breathing or naloxone if you need it. http://stopoverdose.org/section/learn-about-overdose/#whattodo
- Carry and be sure your friends carry the rescue drug, naloxone (Narcan). You can get it from many pharmacies here in WA State as well as from scripts from your doctor or from needle and syringe exchanges. Here’s a list of ways to get it: http://stopoverdose.org/section/find-naloxone-near-you/
- Test your dose before you use it by getting urine testing strips for fentanyl or other substances and dipping the strip into the cooked dose. Ask about drug testing strips here: http://www.peoplesharmreductionalliance.org/, and buy them in bulk here: https://dancesafe.org/shop/
- Test your dose by shooting just a little tester first until you know if it’s your usual. You can snort a tiny bit instead, but please be aware that snorting can also lead to overdose, so be sure it’s a small amount.
And here are some additional resources — websites, self-help books, and treatment manuals — in case you want to do more in-depth reading. Happy safer use!
- HaRRT Center Website
- The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance
- King County Needle Exchange
- Harm Reduction Coalition
- Harm Reduction International
- The Center for Harm Reduction Therapy
- Drug Policy Alliance
- The Chicago Recovery Alliance
- Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support
How to find treatment in WA state? https://www.warecoveryhelpline.org/
- Anderson, K.A. (2010). How to change your drinking: A harm reduction guide to alcohol (2nd edition). New York: The HAMS Network
- Denning, P., Little, J., & Glickman, A. (Eds.). (2017). Over the influence: The harm reduction guide to controlling your drug and alcohol (Second edition). New York: The Guilford Press
- Getting off right: A safety manual for injection drug users. (2011) New York: Harm Reduction Coalition
- Harm Reduction Coalition (2017)
*Literature on harm reduction approaches and psychotherapy
- Denning, P. & Little, J. (2012). Practicing harm reduction psychotherapy: An alternative approach to addictions (2nd edition). New York: Guilford Press.
- Marlatt, G. A., Witkiewitz, K., Larimer, M.E. (2011). Harm reduction: Pragmatic strategies for managing high-risk behaviors (2nd edition). New York: Guilford Press.
- Marlatt, G. A. (1996). Harm reduction: Come as you are. Addictive Behaviors, 21, 779-788.
- Stout, D. D. (2009). Coming to harm reduction kicking and screaming: Looking for harm reduction in a 12-step world. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
- Tartarsky, A. (2002). Harm reduction psychotherapy: A new treatment for drug and alcohol problems. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.