Mercer County to distribute harm reduction kits as part of a new drug overdose prevention campaign

Mercer County will distribute 2,000 harm reduction kits across the county as part of the final phase of a new drug overdose prevention campaign.

The goal of the Mercer County Overdose Prevention Campaign is to prevent fatal overdoses through education on best practices for harm reduction. 

The campaign, which is funded through a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials, has four phases.

In phase one last year, the county created an overdose surveillance system, coordinating with more than 15 community partners. The system issues alerts when three or more overdoses are reported in the region. Since the program’s roll-out, there have been two such alerts, with the last one going out in November.

For phase two, the county is creating a county overdose report. The report will use data from state overdose trends, naloxone uses in the county, and data from peer-reviewed journals to analyze if the overdose trends in Mercer County are reflective of national trends.

For phase three, the county hired a contractor to create an overdose prevention communications campaign. The campaign will be releasing two educational videos on harm reduction, two media ads on the campaign, and a website to educate the community.

In the fourth and final phase of the campaign, Mercer County will distribute harm-reduction kits through the Mercer County Corrections Center, the Mercer County Library System, and local government health boards. These kits will contain CPR face shields, protective gloves, individual-sized sharps containers for syringes, and fentanyl test strips.

“Although the drug overdose epidemic has been a longstanding issue, harm reduction has only recently entered mainstream conversations,” said Ana Montero, the county’s deputy administrator for public health and safety. “This campaign provides essential education and resources to promote the safety and well-being of those struggling with addiction.”