Office of Drug User Health

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Office of Drug User Health's Mission

The New York State AIDS Institute Office of Drug User Health (ODUH) is committed to improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers who use drugs through the promotion of harm reduction practices, through accessible health care and supportive services. With a long history of serving people living with HIV/AIDS, HCV and providing quality harm reduction services throughout New York State. The Office is committed to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute’s public health’s Ending the Epidemic goals.

We promote non-judgmental, anti-racist, gender affirming, evidence-based practices to challenge and overcome systemic barriers to non-judgmental, person-centered, compassionate care. The Office of Drug User Health fosters and funds harm reduction models with a focus on reducing health inequity and fighting systemic racism. People who use drugs would not need harm reduction measures if not for structural harm to our communities. The intersection of our harm reduction work is intertwined with the broader goal fight to abolish harmful practices in healthcare, drug treatment and criminal justice systems, policy, and education.

Who We Are

The Office of Drug User Health, established in 2016, houses several initiatives, each aligned with the philosophy, principles, and practices of harm reduction. Harm reduction recognizes that people engage in drug-related and sexual behaviors that carry a risk for harm, including HIV and HCV infection, opioid overdose and, sometimes, death. Harm reduction empowers individuals to mitigate these risks in ways that protect themselves, their partners, and their communities.

Harm Reduction Saves Lives!

Harm Reduction is a social movement built upon the mobilization of people most affected by prohibitionist drug policy and drug use, including formerly incarcerated people, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities, people who actively use drugs, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.   It is a belief in and respect for the rights of people who use drugs and strategies that include building leadership among people who use drugs and supporting communities in reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use and the harms associated with the context of drug use such as racism, homelessness, violence, and poverty.  We in the Office of Drug User Health were among the first to recognize that access to buprenorphine should not be predicated upon using other services, a contingency that might be invasive or disruptive in someone’s life.  The Office of Drug User Health centers its work in consultation with people who use drugs and listening to their needs.  People who use drugs themselves are often best able to identify what works in a community that others know little about; they need to be involved if we want to create effective responses to the overdose crisis.