The Commonwealth Fund on Harm Reduction

June 22, 2023

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With U.S. Overdose Deaths at Record Levels, Harm Reduction Could Save LivesGumas_Overdose_1243486393_1x1

June 22, 2023

Since 2019, drug overdose fatalities have jumped 50 percent in the United States, where more people die from overdoses than in any other high-income country. Commonwealth Fund research suggests not enough Americans have access to effective addiction treatment, and many people don’t access harm-reduction tools to stay safe when using drugs.

On To the Point, Evan Gumas and Jesse Baumgartner consider what we can learn from international approaches to harm reduction. These strategies include everything from distributing the overdose reversal drug naloxone and sterile syringes to establishing safe consumption sites, some of which have already been introduced in small pockets of the U.S.

The Biden administration has recently invested in resources to combat the opioid crisis, including harm reduction. But there’s an opportunity, the authors say, for the nation to “think bigger and bolder to meet the urgency of the moment.”

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