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Harm Reduction Outreach with Syringe Exchange – Guidelines and Operating Procedures

The guidelines and operating procedures that the Chicago Recovery Alliance works to, these guidelines cover: Philosophy, Activities and Goals, Site, Staffing and Operation, Operational Guidelines.



  • The outreach will always be user friendly and community-sensitive: soliciting and incorporating feedback from communities served by the outreach;
  • Working toward recovery for an individual is making any positive change (as they define it for themselves);
  • Respectful operation of the outreach includes being non-condemning and non-confrontational while stressing personal responsibility in harm reduction;
  • Harm reducing HIV prevention messages will always be constructive and geared to the needs and interests of the person using our services (e.g. “Doing it like this can reduce harm in this way” vs. “Don’t do this…”);
  • Women and men injecting drugs are the experts in reducing their own risks;
  • The outreach will be as safe as possible to the women and men working the outreach and to communities served;
  • Getting as much contaminated drug injection equipment off the street as possible and replacing it with clean drug injection equipment is part of all effective syringe exchange programs;
  • Research on the effectiveness and impact of our harm reduction outreach work must be ongoing and must direct our efforts; and
  • We are committed to discovering and implementing effective HIV harm
    reduction and other recovery techniques.

Download guidelines