Addiction Recovery
By Kevin Dugan
Published: April 25, 2024
Updated: April 25, 2024

Exploring the Myths, Truths, & Impact of the Controversial Overdose Prevention Strategy

Experts from BrightView recently led a discussion about Harm Reduction with community partners from across the nation. The discussion around this controversial topic started with a simple analogy.


Imagine you’re in a park when a surprise storm rolls in. After opening your umbrella, you see someone else getting soaked in the heavy rain. Do you:

  • Insist they leave the park and go indoors — something they may be unprepared or unable to do?


  • Share your umbrella with them? It won’t stop the storm or prevent them from walking in the rain. But it does give them immediate protection and reduces their risk of illness.

The umbrella is harm reduction. And it’s one part of a broader, more comprehensive overdose prevention strategy designed to save people’s lives.


Overdose Prevention Strategy

Harm reduction works with primary prevention, evidence-based treatment, and recovery support efforts to prevent overdoses. For this effort to be effective, three key things are required.

  • Treat people with dignity, compassion, and respect
  • Focus on quality-of-life improvements rather than just abstinence
  • Apply a non-punitive approach to recovery, involving the patient in their treatment to build a strong, therapeutic alliance.


To learn more about harm reduction, including its components and research showing its effectiveness, check out this full-length recording of the discussion.


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