County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service Hosts First Successful Harm Reduction Awareness Event

On Thursday 6 June, County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service held our first Harm Reduction Awareness and Networking Event. The event was the first of its kind to be held by our service, which aimed to strengthen relationships between local organisations, to bolster their efforts relating to harm reduction. Topics covered at the event focused on the increasing threat of nitazenes, and the importance of more people carrying naloxone.

The event was organised by Katie Fowler, our services Harm Reduction Lead, and Enhanced Care Pathways Service Manager, Kimberley Hodgson.

The event was a unique opportunity for professionals across a range of local organisations to come together and learn more about the importance of coming together to help prevent substance-use related deaths.

The event featured several insightful talks, focusing on various topics related to harm reduction. Jon Findlay, Humankind’s National Harm Reduction Lead delivered an important presentation on the recent changes to the opium market, with a particular focus on nitazenes, and their increasing threat.

Guest speaker Dr Will McGovern shared their story in a talk around “Understanding lived experience of drug use from a Social Perspective.”

This was the first event of its kind held by our service. The event received positive feedback, with one attendee commenting that “it was a fantastic event. I brought so much away from the event to share with my colleagues.” Another attendee also said that the event was “the best that they had attended”.

The timing of this event is significant. The North East continues to face the highest number of drug related deaths. It is important that as many people as possible are educated about how they can support with preventing drug related deaths.

We look forward to hosting more similar events in the future.