What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.

Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use, to abstinence, to better meet drug users “where they’re at” and address conditions of use along with the use itself. Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction.

 - Harm Reduction Coalition, harmreduction.org

Who Are the NHHRC?

NHHRC membership is composed of harm reduction programming experts, personnel from a variety of health care settings, medical educators, and people with lived experience of substance use disorders and recovery. NHHRC is a DBA entity of the Health & Safety Council of Strafford County, 501(c)3.

NH Harm Reduction Coalition

What We Stand For

Our mission is to develop, support, and promote policies, practices, and services that reduce the harmful consequences of substance use and misuse in New Hampshire.


NHHRC supports substance-use-related policies, programs, and services that:


Honor the complex biopsychosocial nature of substance misuse that are unique to every individual

Respect the human rights, cultural values, beliefs, and dignity of all people

Are evidence-informed, pragmatic, non-coercive and non-discriminatory

Are continuously improved by timely and reliable evidence

Are trauma-informed, resilience & recovery oriented.

Are informed by the wisdom of lived experience. 

Are equally accessible to all.

The NHHRC Approach

NHHRC approaches issues of substance use and misuse through a commitment to evidence-based public health policies and practices that honor the dignity and rights of all people.

NHHRC accepts that substance use is part of our world, acknowledges that some consumption practices are safer than others and seeks to minimize their harmful effects.

NHHRC assists programs to provide information, materials, and non-judgmental support in an effort to facilitate and celebrate any positive change in the lives of drug users and their peers.

NHHRC believes in the active promotion of transparency, accountability, and meaningful participation of the community of people who use and are impacted by substance use in policy and programming that affects their lives and communities.

NHHRC affirms that reducing the harmful consequences of substance use and misuse requires direct, pragmatic, respectful and compassionate engagement.

NHHRC supports the quality of individual and community life and well-being – not necessarily cessation of all drug use – as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.

NHHRC affirms that people who use substances are the primary agents of reducing the harms of their use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their specific conditions of use.

NHHRC recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.

NHHRC does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit substance use.