Reducing drug harm

Our help available page provides an overview of our approach to working with individuals with drug use that is impacting on themselves and others around them

  • Our aim is to work with you to reduce harm and build successes, which in turn enables you to maximise your independence and reach your potential.

Reducing harm

Telford STaRS is committed to promoting health and wellbeing and preventing drug related harm that meets you where you are at. We do not force or coerce treatment goals, we develop and agree targets together whilst always promoting and encouraging you to maximise your independence.

The interventions and services we offer are an effective blend of harm reduction initiatives alongside recovery-oriented activities and programmes.

Telford STaRS focuses on reducing the risks and adverse health consequences associated with unsafe drug use, in particular blood borne viruses (BBV’s). We are non-judgemental and treat every person with dignity, respect and compassion. We involve the individuals who use our services in different development projects locally and nationally so we can ensure we are moving forward in a direction that not only our service user’s want, but that will also benefit them. We value the safety and wellbeing of the people who use our services, you are at the centre of everything we do.

Strategies and activities for reducing harm vary according to the substance in question, however some of the interventions and activities we provide which are proven to reduce harm include:

  • Peer involvement and education
  • Needle and syringe programmes (NSPs)
  • Overdose prevention education
  • Naloxone training and distribution to individual and those around them (professionals and family members/friends)
  • Blood borne virus screening and enhanced pathways for testing, treatment and support
  • Health MOT clinics
  • Prescribing therapies


It’s important to acknowledge that we can never remove all risks completely which is why we say it will reduce or minimise harm. The only way to remove all harm is by not taking the drug in the first place.

General advice to reduce harm:

  • If using opiates (like heroin, fentanyl, etc) make sure you get naloxone training and a kit – we can also train your family/friends so that they can help if you ever experienced an overdose.
  • When using substances, start with a small amount to test the strength
  • Don’t be afraid of seeking help and being honest about what you have taken
  • Avoid mixing drugs, especially with alcohol
  • Look after friends, if they are sleeping (be aware they could be unconscious) keep your eye on them, put them in the recovery position and call an ambulance if needed
  • Avoid injecting (smoke if possible)
  • Try to use with trusted friends in a safe environment (and tell them what you’re taking) – so if something does go wrong they can get you help
  • Take into consideration the risks you are taking and get as much information about the drug beforehand