Harm Reduction Organization in Texas Uses Science, Advocacy, Tech to Prevent Overdose Fatalities

As overdose deaths continue to climb, especially among teenagers and adolescents who are succumbing more and more to fentanyl, a new organization in Texas is out to provide a safe path to treatment and recovery through harm reduction and support.

TxCOPE (Texans Connecting Overdose Prevention Efforts) is helping drug users gradually transition to treatment and recovery by limiting the threat of overdose fatality.

The organization was co-founded by Texas harm reduction advocates, members of the recovery community and those with lived experience, medical professionals, first responders, and researchers, all of whom have a commitment to saving lives through research, compassionate support, and evidence-based policy.

What Does TxCOPE Do?

TxCOPE offers a suite of harm reduction resources for Texas communities to improve overdose response and prevention efforts, including mobile apps designed specifically for communities, harm reduction organizations, and service providers. These apps empower communities to better respond to overdoses and improve the services we provide.

The organization also provides the means to quickly and anonymously report overdoses so emergency service personnel can respond in real-time and take immediate action to reverse the effects and save more victims’ lives.

Why Is Harm Reduction in Texas Important?

The opioid crisis continues to escalate and claim the lives of more and more Texas residents every year. Four of the nation’s top 25 cities for opioid misuse are in Texas — Texarkana, Amarillo, Odessa, and Longview. At the same time, prescription drug overdose is a leading cause of maternal deaths in Texas.

Harm reduction helps provide a second chance at life while they explore treatment options and find their way to recovery through. Key harm reduction initiatives include:

  • Community Dispensation of Narcan in High-Overdose Communities
  • Fentanyl Testing Kits
  • Overdose Prevention Sites
  • Clean-Syringe Distribution
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Peer-Support Programs
  • Non-Abstinence Housing
  • Displacement Shelters for IV Drug Users

While controversial, harm reduction is backed by scientific and anecdotal research and is a key component of the Biden Administration’s approach to the opioid crisis response.

What Other Resources Does Texas Offer?

In addition to harm reduction resources, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services offers a wide range of prevention and recovery resources to help you or your loved one overcome substance use and reclaim your life. The Texas Targeted Opioid Response (TTOR) offers grant program services for people with opioid use disorder, their family members, significant others, and supportive allies who are affected by opioid use are eligible.

TTOR is a public health initiative operated by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) through federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It expands community involvement and partnership to educate communities and support overdose prevention efforts.

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