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Harm Reduction

Harm reduction programs are community-based prevention programs that provide a range of health services, and life-saving resources to people who use drugs.

Comprehensive harm reduction programs offer patient vaccinations and testing for infectious disease, referrals to treatment for substance use disorder and other disease states (such as viral hepatitis and HIV), and access to sterile injection equipment to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases; however, in Oklahoma any organization that offers items such as hypodermic needles, cleaning kits, test kits and opioid antagonists are considered harm reduction programs.

Harm reduction treats people with compassion

More than 30 years’ worth of research demonstrates that harm reduction programs protect the public’s health. They save lives, helping those experiencing substance use disorder to get the support needed to regain a healthy life.

Harm reduction is also a philosophy that treats people who use substances with compassion and without judgment. This is done by meeting people where they are and recognizing any positive change.

Harm reduction meets people where they are

Senate Bill 511 allows religious institutions or churches, nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, tribal governments, and nongovernment entities that partner with a governmental agency. 

  • HIV and Hepatitis C prevention, testing and linkage to care
  • Education and prevention materials to prevent overdoses, like Naloxone and fentanyl test strip kits
  • Sharps containers and safe disposal of used syringes
  • Referrals to medical, mental health and sexual health services
  • Naloxone training and education
  • Safer use supplies like wound care kits, safer injection kits, sterile syringes and injection drug equipment
  • Referrals to substance use disorder and recovery support services

According to SB 511, in order to provide harm reduction services legally in Oklahoma, you must register with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and provide quarterly reporting to OSDH.

To register, sites must fill out a designated form and provide the following information:

(1) The legal name and form of organization registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, as well as the name under which it will be doing business in the State of Oklahoma.

(2) The name, address, telephone number, and email address for the administrator of the program and a secondary entity contact, together with:

  • A signed, notarized statement attesting that the applicant accepts full responsibility for ensuring that the program operates in compliance with the provisions of all federal and state laws and regulations;
  • The address and telephone number for each program site, including both fixed locations with permanent structures and venues at which services may be provided by a mobile unit;
  • The scheduled hours of operations for each program site; and
  • A copy of the program's most current version of harm-reduction service policies and procedures, including but not limited to, clear and concise procedures for the safe and secure disposal of sharps waste and any biomedical waste generated by services provided by the program.

Harm Reduction Sites must register with the Oklahoma State Department of Health annually and be in compliance with quarterly reporting for registration to be renewed.

For more information on registering as a harm reduction site, please email harmreduction@health.ok.gov and download SB 511 and Title 310.

How to dispose of sharps safely on your own

Each year, U.S. households discard about 3 billion medical "sharps," including disposable needles, syringes and lancets. When trashed or flushed, they can injure or infect the public, hospitality workers and sanitation personnel. They also cost taxpayers millions of dollars in maintenance problems when they jam recycling and waste management equipment. 

Help safeguard your home and community by disposing of sharps responsibly; never put loose sharps in the trash, recycling or toilet. 

Registered Harm Reduction Sites

Safety Harm Reduction Education & Delivery, Inc (SHRED the Stigma)
Shredthestigmaok.org
Phone: (405) 295-5167
Delivery: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 

Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc. (H.O.P.E.)
Vending Machine (The Connect)
Hopetesting.org
The Connect is located inside the HOPE clinic
3354 E. 51
st St
Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: (918) 749-8378; Español (918) 749-8389

Ernest Childers Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic
www.va.gov
8921 S. Mingo Rd.
Tulsa, OK 74133
Phone: (888) 397-8387
(VA Members Only)

Club Majestic Vending Machine
124 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Phone: (918) 749-8378

Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center
www.va.gov
1011 Honor Heights Dr.
Muskogee, OK 74401
Phone: (888) 397-8387
(VA Members Only)

Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc. (H.O.P.E.)
Vending Machine (The Connect)
Hopetesting.org
101 Colvin Ctr. 
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: (405) 744-5510

Harm reduction programs reduce drug use

Participants of harm reduction programs are five times more likely to enter treatment for substance use disorder, are 3xs more likely to reduce their drug use or stop using. Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) Fact Sheet | CDC

Harm reduction keeps our communities safe

Harm reduction programs protect first responders and the public by providing safe needle disposal, reducing the presence of discarded needles, and providing naloxone to help prevent death in response to an overdose. Syringe Services Profgrams (SSPs) Fact Sheet | CDC

Harm reduction helps to reduce transmission of HCV and HIV

Harm reduction programs are associated with an estimated 50% reduction in HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) incidence. Harm reduction programs serve as a bridge to other health services, including HCV and HIV testing and treatment. Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) Fact Sheet | CDC

Personal health strategies for people who use drugs

  • Use slow and use less. A little goes a long way with fentanyl (compared to heroin) and overdoses can occur quickly, sometimes before a person has finished injecting the dose.
  • Try snorting or smoking instead of injecting. Injecting carries the highest risk for overdose, so shifting to snorting or smoking may help reduce risk. A person can still overdose by smoking or snorting, especially with fentanyl, so start slow.
  • Space out doses. Take time between doses because fentanyl acts fast and is different for everyone, depending on dose and tolerance.
  • Practice extra caution when using alone. We’re safer together, but it’s not always possible to be with a friend you trust. Try to have someone you know check on you if you have to use alone so they can intervene in the event of an overdose.
  • In a group? Stagger your use. Make sure someone is always alert and that at least one person has naloxone on them.
  • Test it. Knowing what’s in drugs can help with the decision of how much and how best to use them.
  • Always carry naloxone. Be familiar with the signs of an overdose and be prepared to respond with naloxone.
  • Listen to your body. Overall health impacts overdose risk. Hydrate, eat, and rest as much as possible.
  • Do not share any equipment used to inject drugs with another person.
  • Always use new, sterile needles, syringes and preparation equipment—cookers, cottons, water, ties, and alcohol swabs—for each injection.
  • Set up a clean surface before placing down your injection equipment.
  • Do not divide and share drug solution with equipment that has already been used.
  • Avoid using syringes with detachable needles to reduce the amount of blood remaining in the syringe after injecting.
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water before and after injecting to remove blood or germs.
  • Clean injection site with alcohol or soap and water prior to injecting.
  • Apply pressure to injection site with a sterile pad to stop any bleeding after injecting.
  • Only handle your own injection equipment. If you do inject with other people, separate your equipment from others to avoid accidental sharing.
  • Dispose of needles and injection drug equipment safely.

Handouts and Print Materials

External Resources


Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Services
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave, Ste 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Services
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Phone: (405) 426-8400
Email: SHHRFax@health.ok.gov

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