Harm Reduction

The term “harm reduction” is used to describe any set of strategies designed to minimize the potential adverse consequences of inherently risky activities or behaviors, such as the use of ropes and helmets when rock climbing or seat belts when driving a car. It is most commonly associated with evidence-based interventions and services, such as syringe exchange, that target People Who Inject Substances (PWIS) who are (A) at risk for contracting diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) through the reuse and sharing of injection equipment; (B) at risk for other injection-related complications such as MRSA (antibiotic-resistant staph), vein damage and soft tissue infections; (C) at risk for overdose; and (D) potentially engaged in high-risk sexual activity.

Since 2005 The Mountain Center’s Harm Reduction program (HR) has been providing syringe exchange and related services such as Naloxone distribution, HIV/HCV testing and food distribution in rural northern Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties. It is an area long characterized as isolated and difficult to serve, with high rates of poverty and substance use. The HR program has grown to be the largest syringe exchange and Naloxone provider in New Mexico, and one of the largest programs of its type in the U.S., exchanging over a million syringes with our 800+ participants in each of the past four years. Since 2013 we have provided over 4,000 individuals with over 7,000 doses of Naloxone while recording more than 1,700 overdose reversals reported by our program participants. 

Our Harm Reduction office has also started offering comprehensive MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) services which includes Saboxone treatment, counseling services, and case management. For more information please call 505-231-0652. 

Our mobile outreach program brings syringe exchange, overdose prevention education and Naloxone, as well as referrals and food to PWIS and their families five days a week throughout Rio Arriba county. We visit different communities each day of the week. Please call 505-901-9020 for our schedule.

We also offer Prevention Overdose trainings on-line and in person. For more information contact Gabi Baird at gabi@themountaincenter.org

Our office in Española is open five days a week and offers a variety of services, including syringe exchange, overdose-prevention education and Naloxone, plus food, rapid HIV/HCV counseling and testing and auricular acupuncture (also known as known as AcuDetox).

Other partners include the University of New Mexico and Rio Arriba Health and Human Services. Please call 505-231-0652 for office hours and a schedule of activities and services.

For more information on statewide syringe exchange and overdose programs, or for information on HIV, HCV or STI testing, treatment and care, please visit:nmhivguide.org.

For educational materials, advocacy and national resources, please visit The Harm Reduction Coalition at www.harmreduction.org.

Learn more about the Harm Reduction Program in the news.


photo credit Luis Sanchez Saturno 

Harm Reduction Program Staff

Philip Fiuty
Harm Reduction, Program Manager

Melanie Garcia
Harm Reduction, Outreach Worker

Steven McKinnon
Harm Reduction, Outreach Worker

Gabi Baird 
Overdose Prevention Coordinator 

Alicia Martinez 
Harm Reduction Specialist & Overdose Prevention Trainer