Harm Reduction

Using illegal drugs such as heroin poses many health risks.  Because addiction is a disease, the addict will continue to use despite the negative consequences.

Therefore reducing risk for an addict will assist them in their ultimate recovery from this disease.

By focusing on the health of an active user we support the addict, we support recovery.

Blood-borne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, are present in blood and body fluids and can cause disease in humans. The blood-borne pathogens of primary concern are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Direct contact. Infected blood or body fluid from one person enters another person’s body at a correct entry site, such as infected blood splashing in the eye.

Indirect contact. A person’s skin touches an object that contains the blood or body fluid of an infected person, such as picking up soiled dressings contaminated with an infected person’s blood or body fluid.

Respiratory droplet transmission. A person inhales droplets from an infected person, such as through a cough or sneeze.

Vector-borne transmission. A person’s skin is penetrated by an infectious source, such as a needle.

Potential Risks of Injecting Drugs:

Overdose/Sudden Death – Whether from overdose or still mysterious reactions, it is not uncommon for people to die suddenly after injecting.
Embolism – blood clot, usually in the lungs, that can kill you or make you seriously ill.
Viral Infections – HIV, Hepatitis, and other blood-borne infections from using contaminated equipment, including syringes, cookers, cottons and injection water.
Fungal Infections – using lemon juice to dissolve e your shot.  These can cause blindness.
Bacterial infections – Endocarditis, Tetanus, Flesh-eating Bacteria, Wound Botulism and blood poisoning (Septicemia) are all serious, and often life-threatening, medical conditions.
Abscesses – and other injuries are often caused by bacteria or cuts in street heroin.  This is a particular risk for skin and muscle-poppers, or when mainliners miss the vein (or a shot leaks out).  If you notice redness and swelling around a site and it feels warm or hot, it’s best to see a doctor.  An untreated abscess can lead to blood poisoning, and injecting through one can bring on endocarditis.

The Cincinnati Needle Exchange provides free, confidential testing, counseling, naloxone education and distribution and clean needles to addicts.  Anonymity is assured, information is shared and harm is reduced.

By focusing on the health of active user we support the addict, we support recovery.

Wednesday 3-7pm at 65 E Hollister, Cincinnati, OH 45219

Cincinnati Exchange Project

Learn more about Harm Reduction at the Harm Reduction Coalition:

Because Heroin Sucks and Recovery Rocks!