Recovery doesn’t always follow a linear path, and unfortunately, people in recovery sometimes relapse. To that end, the staff of Haymarket Center make sure that our patients have the resources they need to keep themselves safe, even when they walk out of our doors.
As part of a larger strategy to provide care and prevent deaths from substance use, Haymarket Center embraces harm reduction practices. Harm reduction is an approach to substance use treatment that acknowledges the possibility of relapse and equips people with critical resources to reduce likelihood of infection and death should they resume using substances. If a patient doesn’t complete treatment, they are given harm prevention kits to help keep them safe. These kits include Narcan Reversal, Fentanyl test kits, which patients are trained to use in the event of an overdose, and other resources to support patients when they feel that their grasp on their recovery is faltering.
The topic of harm reduction is frequently debated amongst providers of substance use treatment. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that harm reduction strategies help reduce rates of infection and death among people with substance use disorders. Still, some feel that this approach enables or even encourages substance use, preferring eliminationist, zero tolerance strategies instead. Haymarket’s approach to harm reduction is backed by evidence that these practices help keep people safe.
“These kits don’t enable people, they protect them,” explained Aesha Muhammad, Manager of the Men’s Medical Detox program at Haymarket. “If someone leaves Haymarket before they complete treatment, and if they feel like they’re going to use substances again, having and being able to use the medication in these kits can save their life or someone else’s.”
Providing harm prevention kits to patients is consistent with Haymarket Center’s mission to aid people with substance use disorders in their recovery. To learn more about Haymarket’s mission and values and how we integrate them into the work that we do, please visit our website for more information.