Harm reduction means different things to different people. According to an article written by Morgan Coulson and Melissa Hartman in 2016 of John Hopkins University, it can be defined as: “[anything] reducing the harm associated with using drugs through a variety of public health interventions.” While the writer of this article agrees that the definition captures most of the meaning, I feel it leaves out one key component: legality. Specifically, harm reduction (or the type that you will find on this website) has no regard for the legality of the measures taken or the information provided. This sounds like a good time for a waiver of responsibility plug:
While our intention is to inform and educate drug users, their friends, family, allies, and the public at large so that they may better protect themselves, we hereby expressly disclaim any and all damages arising from, linked to, or otherwise associated with the use of any information provided by us. Users of this website take full responsibility for any damages arising from the use of said information. In no way shall Antiprohibit, its staff, nor its associates be held liable for any such damages. We provide this website as a public service. As always, do your own research and be responsible.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into what harm reduction really means to us, what resources are available, and how you can use them to stay safe. In a nutshell, we at Antiprohibit consider harm reduction to be an umbrella term for any and all techniques, tricks, tips, methods or resources that help drug users stay safe. This is incredibly important in nations such as the United States, where drug use and the activities associated with it are still illegal.
So, what are some methods?
Without further ado, let’s get into the harm reduction techniques that you can use today to help keep you, your friends and loved ones safe.
- Paraphernalia (where to obtain it and how to use it)
Paraphernalia is the umbrella term for the equipment that drug users ingest their products with. This includes everything from syringes to spoons, lighters, and pipes to bags and scales. Paraphernalia is oftentimes listed as a separate legal charge on police tickets, ostensibly to discourage drug dealing. However, it is more often listed along with possession charges that police can then use as leverage.
Clean syringes and filters are probably the most important type of paraphernalia to obtain and some of the cheapest. In most states, possession of paraphernalia alone is not sufficient to charge one with drug possession, so there is no excuse not to practice safe injection techniques.
Using clean syringes is a must. Not only does it protect you from blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis C, but it also prevents injecting yourself with contaminants such as rust or cotton fibers. As anyone who has gotten a case of cotton fever can tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How to obtain them most easily depends on your location, as different states have different laws regarding possession and purchasing. See our list of states where you don’t need a prescription to buy syringes for more information.
Stems and pipes are most easily purchased at local head shops or corner stores, and may be referred to as “roses” (so-named due to the little red rose that comes in many of them) or “glass”.
- Dosing Techniques and Testing
Properly measuring your doses is one of the most critical parts of harm reduction. To do this, it’s important to first know what you’re using. That’s where drug testing comes into play. With a drug testing kit, you can determine what class of drugs you’re using. Once known, you can then begin the process of measuring out a proper dose. Be careful, as some drugs, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, are so potent that the difference between a pleasant buzz and a lethal dose is too small for the eye to see. Digital scales are a good investment for anyone looking to accurately dose product.
- Sanctuary Sites – Sanctuary Sites/Cities are areas where the police and local authorities won’t enforce the laws surrounding drug use. Examples include Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California.
- Substitutions – This heading deserves much more detail than what is provided here, so check back soon for updates. Substitutions are other drugs or combinations of drugs that produce a similar effect to that of another substance. Be extremely careful when trying new combinations for the first time, as tolerance is incomplete or nonexistent. Examples include Kratom for opioids, benzodiazepines for alcohol, and methamphetamine for cocaine.
- Getting Clean / Sober – Sometimes, it’s time to call it quits. Whether you’re looking to get a better job that requires sobriety and drug testing, or you just want to be clean, getting sober can be a challenge. If you’re ready to make a change, you will likely need help. It’s available to you. Don’t make this change alone, as going solo in recovery almost guarantees that it won’t last.
We intend to update this list regularly as we grow, so bookmark this site and check back frequently for updates. If you are (or someone you know is) interested in submitting an article, addition to a page, or have any suggestions, please contact us.