I am thrilled that American Medical Response-Hartford and Aetna Ambulance are partnering with the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition to deputize the city’s EMS responders into the Harm Reduction army. Crews will provide information cards to overdose patients and their families on where they can obtain everything from rehabilitation services to naloxone and clean needles for those not ready yet for rehab. Harm reduction, which seeks to meet people where they are at, provide honest information and keep people alive has rarely been a part of any EMS curriculum. EMS crews will also be encouraged to report all opioid overdoses in Hartford to the state Poison control center as part of the Statewide Opioid Reporting Directive (SWORD) to provide early warning surveillance of bad batches, demographic information of which cohorts are overdosing, and develop heat maps to identify the best areas for outreach.
Gone are the days of stigmatizing users and declarations for users to just say no, to be replaced by evidence-based harm reduction truths that will hopefully save lives and further embed EMS into our communities as a modern healthcare partner.
Here’s a great video describing what Harm Reduction is all about by the noted harm reduction activist Van Esher.
Here are the handouts.