Frequently Asked Questions

About Save Lives Oregon

Save Lives Oregon is a community of organizations working across Oregon and in tribal communities to reduce drug-related harm, support the agency of people who use drugs and end the stigma often associated with drug use. We do this by connecting the organizations and communities that serve people who use drugs with supplies, training and resources to support them in this work.

Save Lives Oregon is made up of a community of organizations working to reduce drug-related harm including Oregon Health Authority, HIV Alliance, Max’s Mission, Outside In, NW Instituto Latino, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Community Health, Miracles Club, 4D Recovery, Painted Horse Recovery, Multnomah County Public Health and Clatsop County Public Health.

Save Lives Oregon began in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the overdose crisis and left many families, neighborhoods and communities struggling. In response, we launched a resource hub to provide more life-saving supplies such as naloxone to organizations and tribal communities on the front lines of harm reduction. As of December 2021, 70 organizations have received supplies from the Clearinghouse.

Our funding comes from federal and state sources.

About harm reduction

Harm reduction is an approach or practice that has been found effective in reducing negative outcomes of drug use, including overdose deaths and infections such as HIV and hepatitis C. Harm reduction approaches are also humane, client-centered and respectful of the agency of people to decide what is best for them right now, where they are today. In practice, harm reduction provides people who use drugs with supplies and information proven to help reduce the harmful impacts of their drug use. It’s both effective and compassionate, taking into account the complexities of drug use and the humanity of each drug user.

As opposed to punitive approaches that create more trauma and are less effective at saving lives, harm reduction is all about connecting each person with the tools they need to find their own path toward health and healing. Harm reduction services can also be a person’s first interaction with organizations that provide recovery support and health care services, helping connect people who use drugs with additional services when they are ready.

Harm reduction is not the only solution but it is a critical element in supporting hope, healing and health. Drug use prevention, recovery support and medical care, as well as reforms to public policies and social changes toward justice and equity, all play an important part.

Harm reduction leads to safer communities by helping people who use drugs do so in a way that is less dangerous to themselves and those around them.

For example, providing people who use drugs with naloxone gives them the tools to reverse an overdose and save a life. The life saved may be a friend, a family member, a loved one, an acquaintance or their own. Providing collection boxes for disposing syringes safely keeps syringes out of the garbage and off the ground, reducing potential injury hazards for others. Connecting people who use drugs with harm reduction services can lead them to access other services, too, increasing use of essential services such as medical care and recovery support.

Taken together, these strategies have profound impacts for people who use drugs and their families, neighbors and communities. Harm reduction programs are proven to reduce HIV and HCV infection rates by 50 percent. And people who use syringe service programs are three times more likely to stop using drugs than people who do not use these programs.

Harm reduction programs are available through Oregon, tribal communities and around the world. We’ve seen support for harm reduction strategies grow as more communities accept that drug use is complex, influenced by systemic racism, inequitable health care, social isolation, trauma and many other factors.

There are many places in Oregon where people who use drugs can access naloxone, syringe service programs and other harm reduction offerings at no cost. And in 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, decriminalizing the personal possession of small amounts of illicit drugs, reducing the penalties for possessing larger amounts, and funding a range of services for people who use drugs, including harm reduction programs.

Training is not required to provide harm reduction supplies from the Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse to your community. But we encourage you to tap into the resources and expertise available from leaders who have been doing this work with people who use drugs for decades. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about the support and training available to your organization.

About the support and resources available to partners

Reach out to us! We work with organizations and tribal communities to develop harm reduction programs that are both achievable and impactful based on your unique situation and needs. We’re here to support you, whether you’re in rural Oregon, a tribal community or an urban community.

Some people may be unfamiliar with harm reduction, so it’s important that your organization’s leadership is on board before you begin offering harm reduction supplies. We’re here to help you make the case. Our technical assistance team can offer you resources and customized support to demonstrate the benefits of harm reduction and work toward adding harm reduction to your activities or offerings. Please reach out to start the conversation.

We offer basic training materials and videos on topics such as “Naloxone use training for clients” and customized training and support on agency-specific topics through our technical assistance program. This is available to all partners, whether or not you qualify for the Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse.

If you qualify for the Clearinghouse, we also provide materials and training on how to make supplies available to people who use drugs served by your organization.

About the Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse

The Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse provides supplies such as life-saving naloxone and wound care supply kits to organizations that qualify, at no cost. Organizations that apply and are approved for the Clearinghouse can also receive training on important elements like how to meet program requirements, best practices for promoting supplies to the people you serve, and more.

The Clearinghouse offers a range of life-saving supplies at no cost to qualifying organizations. Please view the Clearinghouse application for a list of supplies currently available to approved organizations.

Supplies may include:

  • Overdose prevention supplies such as naloxone
  • Wound care supplies
  • Safer use supplies for people who use drugs
  • Personal sharps containers

To qualify for no-cost supplies through the Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse, your organization must serve people who use drugs and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Community-based organizations with 501(c)(3) status or 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsorship;

  • Harm Reduction and Syringe Service Programs within Community Health Clinics or FQHCs;

  • Local Public Health Authority Harm Reduction and Syringe Service Programs;

  • Tribal community and health care programs that serve people who use drugs;

  • Withdrawal management/Residential SUD treatment programs for clients who are turned away, dismissed or leave;

  • First-Uniformed Responder agencies responding to rural or frontier communities implementing “leave behind” naloxone distribution programs; and

  • Rural and frontier jails for naloxone distribution to people who may be at risk of overdose when in custody or when they are released

Organizations that receive supplies from the Clearinghouse will need to file reports with Save Lives Oregon. Also, if you are distributing syringes, you will need to provide us with a syringe disposal plan.

If your application to the Clearinghouse is denied, please reach out to us at: info@savelivesoregon.org. We will review your qualifications and explore if we can help get your organization approved.

If you are not eligible, any organization that serves people who use drugs can become a partner. Save Lives Oregon can support you in growing your harm reduction program through access to technical assistance from our team and the Save Lives Oregon communications toolkit

If you believe your application to the Clearinghouse was denied in error, please reach out to us at info@savelivesoregon.org.