Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies


Background: The last decade has seen an alarming rise in deaths attributed to opioid use. Considering the ever-increasing mortality rate contributable to opiate use disorder, it is important to identify and utilize more efficacious public health interventions.

Purpose: The focus of this paper is identifying the current harm reduction strategies being implemented in Minneapolis MN, the history of harm reduction in the US, and opportunities to improve existing systems to better engage current conditions.

Methods: The primary research method for this community assessment was volunteer work with Southside Harm Reduction in Minneapolis, MN. Through community clean-ups the researcher was able to interact with residents in high-intensity drug use areas, safely dispose of harm reduction supplies, and gain a front-line perspective of the intersection of opiate use disorder, houselessness, and injection drug use.

Conclusion: The implementation of harm reduction strategies in the Twin Cities area greatly surpass those in other regions in the country. Access to Naloxone, fentanyl test strips, clean injection equipment, and community resources have been adequately provided by community groups like Southside Harm Reduction Services. It is important to provide more education to primary care and emergency medicine providers to achieve better outcomes when treating these populations. Specifically, improving clinic and hospital buprenorphine protocols and stock and working with community groups to improve the number of patients lost to follow up. Further research on delivery mechanisms or satellite physician dispensing may prove beneficial in improving patient follow up and medication for opioid use disorder compliance.


SC 11.PAS.2023.Baker.J

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