Engaging People who Smoke Drugs in Overdose Prevention Services


Grantee: Hepatitis Education Project (HEP)
Timeframe: October 2022 – September 2023 | Amount: $20,000

HEP’s project aims to reduce fatal drug overdoses and overdose disparities by providing safer smoking supplies as a key component of our syringe services and overdose prevention program. This project will better engage King County’s underserved drug-using communities, including young adults, women, and people of color. Safer smoking supplies are an essential first step in expanding access to drug user health services.

The goals of this project include:

  1. Reducing disparities in access to overdose prevention and MOUD services;
  2. Delaying or preventing transition to injection; and
  3. Meeting the needs of people who use drugs to increase trust and retention in the range of services HEP provides.

This grant will fund the acquisition of safer smoking supplies and expand outreach to marginalized communities. The bulk of this funding will be dedicated to purchasing supplies, with a small allocation to cover the cost of data management, fiscal oversight, and grant administration (10% de minimus indirect rate). Staffing will be provided in-kind to research and order supplies, organize safer smoking kits, review encounter data in order to improve the quality of service delivery, and liaise with outreach partners to support enhanced community engagement.

HEP currently provides limited safer smoking equipment, but demand far outstrips supply. People are often sent away with no safer smoking supplies, which can erode trust and reduce long-term engagement. HEP has identified a demand for around 1000 pieces per month. Demand is particularly high during camps and outreach events where we see a more diverse population compared to in-office activities.

The grant will enable us to purchase materials to create more than 12,000 safer smoking kits with improved foil, plastic mouthpieces, pipe screens, and an expanded selection of glass stems and pipes. These kits also include lip balm and health education materials about mouth care, overdose prevention, and our low-barrier MOUD program, among other topics. As with all our outreach activities, we will also distribute intranasal and intramuscular naloxone.

This safer smoking project will be staffed with existing personnel, primarily from our POP team. The POP Lead Coordinator (in-kind) will spearhead the enhanced supply distribution and facilitate engagement with people who smoke/inhale drugs. They will coordinate additional outreach activities based on community needs, and act as the point of contact for mutual aid groups. Further outreach will be conducted by the POP Specialist (in-kind). All POP team members are trained to deliver health education, including education about overdose prevention, and initiate referrals to our MOUD, testing, and case management programs. The POP Manager (in-kind), a trained social worker who manages all syringe services and overdose prevention programming, will supervise these efforts and overall leadership and guidance will be provided by HEP’s Director of Programs (in-kind).


About Our Grantee

Hepatitis Education Project (HEP)

The Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the epidemics of hepatitis C and hepatitis B. Founded in 1993, HEP works with patients, medical providers, public health and policymakers, and provides direct services and advocacy for some of the community’s most underserved and marginalized populations.

HEP is driven by the values and principles of social justice and harm reduction, and is committed to being an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-sexist organization.

Nimble Grant

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