Harm Reduction Principles, Strategies and Limits


With increasing overdose rates, a more lethal drug supply, and more prescription medications in many homes, it’s important to educate a wider audience about harm reduction and what it means: essentially, reducing the negative consequences of potentially risky behaviors. This workshop will present different definitions of harm reduction, highlight how we all practice harm reduction in our lives, and explain how harm reduction strategies are implemented in different settings, including syringe service programs and psychotherapy. It will also address community concerns and hesitations about harm reduction, ways to reduce the harms of stigma surrounding drug use, and opportunities to build bridges between harm reduction and treatment for people with substance use disorders


Increase participants’ understanding of harm reduction principles and strategies, address myths and misperceptions about harm reduction, and explore how harm reduction can be part of the continuum of care.

Workshop Outline:

  • Different ways of defining harm reduction (National Harm Reduction Coalition, SAMHSA, NIDA).
  • Harm reduction principles.
  • How we all practice harm reduction (including bike helmets, sunscreen, designated drivers).
  • Harm reduction services provided by syringe service programs (SSPs), overdose prevention centers (OPCs) and mobile units in some communities.
  • Who harm reduction services may not be reaching (different population groups).
  • Harm reduction psychotherapy (key practitioners and principles, including embracing goals like reduced substance use).
  • Hesitations about harm reduction (traditional objections, like it “enables” drug use, vs. newer concerns, e.g. it’s “not enough” for people with complex needs).
  • Building bridges between harm reduction and treatment for people with substance use disorders.
  • Reducing harm by addressing stigma (types of stigma, avoiding stigmatizing terms).

Trainer Bio:

Susan Stellin, MPH is a writer, educator, and public health consultant focusing on health-centered responses to substance use and addiction. Since earning a master's in public health at Columbia University, she has worked on projects about ways to reduce overdose deaths, reform punitive drug policies, and expand access to harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support. Recent clients include NYU Langone’s Health x Housing Lab, the Northeast & Caribbean Addiction Technology Transfer Center, the Opioid Response Network, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Overdose Prevention Program at Vital Strategies, and the Vera Institute of Justice. She regularly leads training workshops for service providers working with people experiencing substance use, mental health, and housing challenges, and has also taught undergraduate courses about media ethics, collaborative storytelling, and the history of journalism.

Other Session in this Series:

Session 1: Addressing Myths About Substance Use, Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery

Session 2: Current Substance Use Trends and Evolving Risks

Session 4: Understanding Addiction and Options for Care

Starts: Apr 24, 2024 11:00 am
Ends: Apr 24, 2024 12:30 pm
Registration Deadline
April 24, 2024
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
Hosted by
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