Center for Harm Reduction Services

The Maryland Department of Health's Center for Harm Reduction Services was established in 2019 to centralize harm reduction activities across the Department. The Center is housed with the Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau in the Prevention and Health Promotion Administration. The Center oversees the Overdose Response Program, Syringe Services Program, naloxone distribution, harm reduction grants, and various workforce development, training, and technical assistance activities. Information about each of the Center's areas of work is linked below. 

The Center's strategic goal is to reduce substance-related morbidity and mortality by optimizing services for people who use drugs. ​The Center for Harm Reduction Services envisions a Maryland where: 

  • Health care and social service systems meet the needs of people who use drugs in a comprehensive, community-based manner;

  • People who use drugs have equitable access to high-quality care; and

  • Services provided to people who use drugs are free from stigma and discrimination.

*New Grant Opportunity*

Maryland Harm Reduction Housing Landscape and Needs Assessment

The Center for Harm Reduction Services is seeking 1-2 partners to conduct a landscape and needs assessment on housing for people who use drugs. The goal is to understand housing options available to people actively using drugs, the policy, funding and programmatic barriers they face, and identify ways in which the Center can direct resources to improve housing availability. The ideal applicant will have a strong understanding of housing first models and staff with experience working with people who use drugs, and may be a nonprofit organization or academic institution.

The Request for Applications is open on the eMaryland Marketplace public portal under: Maryland Harm Reduction Housing Landscape and Needs Assessment (PHPA 1598 BPM024470). The opportunity closes July 1, 2021 at 2:00 PM

A Pre-Application webinar was held via Google Meets on June 8, 2021 from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM to provide information about the grant opportunity and application process. The transcript and slide-deck from the webinar are below.

​*New Statewide Standing Order*

Statewide Standing Order for Pharmacy Dispensing

Dr. Jinlene Chan, MD, MPH, Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Maryland Department of Health (MDH), has issued a new statewide standing order allowing all Maryland licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone, including any necessary supplies for administration, to any individual. The statewide standing order and guidance is available below. The standing order will be faxed to Maryland pharmacies the week of June 1, 2021. Any pharmacists that required a tamper-proof (faxed) copy of the standing order for Medicaid billing purposes can request it from after June 4. 


COVID-19 and Overdose Response Grants Initiative--closed​

The following Request for Applications has now closed on the eMaryland Marketplace public portal: COVID-19 and Overdose Response Grants Initiative​ (ID number BPM024065 or PHPA 1527). Applications are under review and award notices are tentatively planned for mid-July 2021. ​

COVID-19 and Harm Reduction Information and Resources

The Center for Harm Reduction Services administers the Overdose Response Program, which provides the means for training bystanders to administer naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose. MDH authorizes local entities as Overdose Response Programs, allowing them to provide overdose education and dispense naloxone through partnerships with prescribers. 


The Center for Harm Reduction administers the Maryland Syringe Services Program, reviewing new applications, managing program reporting, issuing program guidance, and providing TA and support to approved programs. The Center for Harm Reduction Services also holds quarterly meetings of the Standing Advisory Committee on Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach. These meetings are open to the public. 

ACCESS is the Center's centralized platform for harm reduction resources for local health departments and community-based organizations. Resources are provided through ACCESS with the goal of reducing substance-related morbidity and mortality by optimizing services for people who use drugs. ACCESS stands for '​Advancing Cross-Cutting Engagement and Service Strategies for People Who Use Drugs.' Please contact with any questions. 


The Maryland Department of Health, Center for Harm Reduction Services partners with the Maryland Harm Reduction Training Institute (MaHRTI) to build the capacity of Maryland's harm reduction workforce to provide optimal services to people who use drugs. For more information visit​ or contact The Center also provides other workforce development and training, including the Regrounding Our Response initiative and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion training. 

​Additional Resources