Harm Reduction

SJBPH’s opioid risk reduction program is designed to respond to a recent increase in drug use and overdose incidents in Southwest Colorado, which have had far-reaching impacts on the community. The program will respond to the findings of a recent needs assessment of people who use or inject drugs by providing access to overdose prevention supplies, including opioid overdose reversal medication and fentanyl test strips. It will also be used to distribute clean syringes to people who inject drugs. The overarching goal is to provide education and referral to primary care, mental health care, and recovery resources. The program will involve partnerships with Manna, law enforcement, government agency partners, as well as other local organizations.

What is naloxone or Narcan?

Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a drug used to reverse an overdose from opioids (heroin, oxycontin, fentanyl etc.). Naloxone is safe and cannot be misused. 

Where can you get naloxone? 

  • Come to one of the SJBPH naloxone distribution days to pick up naloxone.  
  • SJBPH provides naloxone and other harm reduction supplies at Manna Soup Kitchen every Friday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  
  • Pharmacies have naloxone. You will need your insurance card to get the cost of the medication covered.  

How to respond to an opioid overdose? 

  1. Recognize an overdose
    • Slow or shallow breathing, not breathing
    • Lips and nails turn blue
    • Unconsciousness
    • Pinpoint pupils
    • Cool clammy skin 
    • Slow heart rate or low blood pressure
  2. Respond to the overdose
    • Check for responsiveness
    • Call 911
    • Administer naloxone or Narcan as soon as you can
    • Give rescue breaths
    • If after 2-3 minutes the person has not responded, give another dose of naloxone
    • Continue to give rescue breaths
  3. Stay with the person 
    • Naloxone wears off in 30-90 minutes. The person can go back into an overdose if they still have the opioid in their system.  
    • Stay with the person or ensure they are in the care of EMS. 

What is fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroine and 100 times more potent than morphine. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is available in many forms and can be pressed into pills to resemble other prescription opioids and commonly mixed with heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.  

How to check drugs for fentanyl? 

Fentanyl test strips are available to test drugs for the presence of fentanyl. To use a fentanyl test strip: 

  • Mix a small amount of powder or residue with half a cup of water (residue might be what sticks to the side of a baggie after you empty out a powder, or shaving off a bit of a pill on each side and breaking open). 
  • Hold the test strip in the water for 5 seconds. 
  • Wait 15 seconds and read the results. One line is positive for fentanyl. Two lines is negative. This is opposite to other tests like COVID or pregnancy tests.  
  1. Ashley Gonzalez

    Opioid Risk Reduction Program Supervisor

What are the laws?

Colorado Harm Reduction Legislation

How to use Nalaxone

Where can I get Nalaxone?

Where can I dispose of used syringes?


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