Harm Reduction Legal Project
The United States remains in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic of drug-related harm. In 2017, over 70,000 Americans were killed by drug overdose, surpassing the number lost at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Infections related to use of shared syringes have increased alongside the surge in opioid overdose deaths, with several states experiencing recent injection-related HIV outbreaks. Hepatitis C infections, which overwhelmingly result from use of shared syringes, have increased every year for more than a decade. Simultaneously, injection-related endocarditis has been increasing nationwide. Many of these deaths and infections are preventable via increased access to evidence-based harm reduction measures such as naloxone distribution, syringe access programs, and access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment. Yet due to lack of understanding and stigma related to substance use disorder, many harm reduction services are often hindered by laws and policies that reflect an outdated, punitive-focused approach to drugs and individuals who use them.
The Network’s Harm Reduction Legal Project provides guidance and consultation to governmental and nongovernmental organizations as well as impacted individuals to assist them in navigating the often extremely confusing maze of existing laws and regulations that hamper harm reduction initiatives.
The Project also provides non-partisan, evidence-based publications and training regarding the state of laws impacting individuals who use drugs, individuals in recovery, and their communities, as well as research regarding the impact of those laws.
How we can help
Legal Research and Assistance
Experienced legal experts are available to answer questions and provide research, analysis and guidance. Let us know what you’re working on and together we can figure out how we can help.
Legal Assistance Library
Explore the Network’s Legal Assistance Library to find answers to commonly asked questions on a variety of public health topics.