Harm Reduction Services: NARCAN, Fentanyl Test Strips & Syringe Service Programs
As a provider of harm reduction services, Seven Counties Services utilizes a number of strategies to meet people where they are and on their own terms. Through these strategies, our goal is to engage those who struggle with substance use and equip them with life-saving tools and information to create positive change, and potentially even save their lives.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this evidence-based approached has proven to be needed year after year as drug overdose fatalities continue to be a major public health issue in the United States. In 2022 alone, over 100,000 fatal overdoses were reported by the CDC, supporting increased efforts to make harm reduction services more widely available.
One of the most impactful harm reduction services we incorporate at Seven Counties Services is making NARCAN kits readily available in our community.
What is NARCAN?
In March 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved Naloxone Hydrochloride, commonly known by its brand name NARCAN, for over-the-counter, nonprescription use. Narcan is a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids. Opioids include prescription medications, heroin, and fentanyl, and can also include other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, being mixed or laced with fentanyl.
The safest thing about NARCAN is that it will not harm someone if you give it to them and they are not overdosing on an opioid. Additionally, it can be given to people of all ages, from infants to older adults, and can be easily administered by bystanders. Learn more about how NARCAN works and how to administer it.
Cory Moneymaker, LCSW, LCADC, the Division Director of Addiction Recovery for Seven Counties Services, stated that every single client who leaves our Addiction Services facilities – whether they leave against staff advice or after completion – is offered and recommended to take a NARCAN kit and/or refillable prescription with them. These kits are also available to anyone in the community upon request.
Additional efforts to make NARCAN kits available include partnering with local organizations who actively distribute in the community. These include the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition and the Louisville Recovery Community Connection (LRCC) who also conduct trainings on how to use the kits, among other services.
Access to Fentanyl Test Strips
Our partnerships with the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition and the LRCC also allow us to increase access to Fentanyl Test Strips, a harm reduction service that became decriminalized in early 2023 after state lawmakers passed House Bill 353. The test strips were previously classified as illegal drug paraphernalia under Kentucky law, but the passing of Bill 353 has now made them exempt due to their life saving capabilities.
Fentanyl Test Strips are a low-cost method of helping prevent drug overdoses and reducing harm. They’re small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in a variety of drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc., and drug forms such as pills, powder, and injectables. While most of the community distribution is made possible with the help of our local partnerships, we also have the test strips available upon request. Learn more about how to use Fentanyl Test Strips.
Where to Find Syringe Service Programs
Another life-saving, harm reduction service includes syringe service programs. Syringe services programs help stop the spread of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in a community. There are two major programs in the Louisville area offered through the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition and the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Department.
Whether an individual needs access to harm reduction services or is ready to start a recovery journey, Seven Counties Services is here to help every step of the way. First appointments can be made online or by calling (502) 589-1100. If you or someone you know is in need of urgent help, please call our 24/7 Addiction Recovery Hotline at (502) 583-3951.
Reviewed by Cory Moneymaker, LCSW, LCADC, the Division Director of Addiction Recovery for Seven Counties Services.