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Title: Harm Reduction


Harm Reduction is:

  • Harm reduction is an approach that emphasizes engaging directly with people to help them be as safe and healthy as possible while using drugs.
  • These strategies aim to prevent overdose and infectious disease transmission, improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those served
  • and offer low-threshold options for accessing substance use disorder treatment and other health care services.


Sharps Disposal: Disposing of used sharps reduces the risk of blood-borne viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and other diseases that can be contracted through used sharps like needles. There are a number of locations in Onondaga County where you can safely dispose of used sharps. Please see the map below.In addition, the Onondaga County Syringe Services Program will accept used sharps for disposal.



Drug Disposal: Is your medicine cabinet full of expired drugs or medications you no longer use? Your medicine is for you. What’s safe for you might be harmful for someone else. The best way to dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines is through a drug take back program — or you can do it at home.Click here to find a disposal location near you.


If you need to dispose at home:


Disposing medicines in household trash: If a take back program is not available, almost all medicines, except those on the FDA flush list (see below),  can be thrown into your household trash. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, and creams.

Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.

  2. Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or other container) to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.

  3. Throw the container in the garbage.

  4. Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the packaging away.

Additionally, we have free Drug Disposal bags to simplify the process, reach out to us to request them at 315.418.5365


Overdose Reversal Training and Naloxone:


  • Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medicine that acts quickly to reverse an opioid overdose. This will re-start the brain signals that tell the body to breathe and the person should start breathing again.  
  • You can learn how to use Naloxone by scheduling a training with the Onondaga County Health Department, or taking our online training. Learn more by going to our Naloxone page.
  • Naloxone is also available at the local pharmacies and at local overdose prevention programs. You can find these programs here.



Illustration of Naloxone with text stating Take Care of Others, Carry Narcan  Yellow background, take care of yourself, test your drugs


Fentanyl and Xylazine Test Strips:

  • The OCHD has free Fentanyl and Xylazine Test strips for community members who will use them.
  • Request these by calling or texting (315) 418-5365
  • These strips are used to test substances to see if they contain Fentanyl and Xylazine.
  • Knowing this information can be helpful to be informed on what is in a substance and help to make decisions on what to do next.


Learn how to use these strips by watching our video!






syringe services description


What is an SSP, aka syringe services program?:

  • An SSP is a confidential program that provides free sterile syringes and other harm reduction supplies.


Why are SSP's important?:

  • Reduces risk of bloodborne illness and skin infection among people who inject drugs.
  • Reduces syringe waste within the community.
  • Provides linkages to treatment and recovery services, as well as other harm reduction resources.


How can I get enrolled in the SSP?:

  • Call or text (315) 418-5365 OR
  • Come to one of our SSP locations, schedule posted below with day, time and location.
List of Syringe Services Sites






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