Skip to main content

Thank you to WIVB TV for having MATTERS’ Harm Reduction Coordinator join the discussion on International Opioid Overdose Awareness Day!

Opioid Overdose Awareness Day occurs annually on August 31st; it serves as a day to remember those who have lost their lives from the opioid epidemic and recognize the importance of overdose prevention in our communities. Overdose Awareness Day is also an important day to raise awareness on harm reduction strategies.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas used to reduce the negative consequences of any health behavior – including drug use. Harm reduction strategies include wearing a seatbelt in the car, using medical masks during a COVID-19 outbreak, testing drugs for harmful substances before using, and carrying naloxone (commonly referred to as Narcan) to reverse an opioid overdose.

MATTERS distributes free harm reduction supplies to individuals and organizations across New York State. These supplies include fentanyl test strips, xylazine test strips, and naloxone (Narcan).

It is important to test drugs for fentanyl and xylazine to reduce the risk of an opioid overdose. Fentanyl is a dangerously potent, synthetic opioid that has caused a spike in opioid overdose deaths in recent years. Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer that is commonly used to prolong the effects that opioids have on the body; however, xylazine is toxic to humans and exposure leads to severe skin wounds that often lead to amputation.

MATTERS has distributed nearly 1.5 million test strips across New York State since the launch of its test strip distribution program in August 2022.

Get Involved

MATTERS is recruiting volunteers to support its harm reduction distribution program. To learn more about volunteering, overdose prevention, and harm reduction strategies, contact the MATTERS team today.