The application for the 2021 Injury-Free NC Academy on Harm Reduction as a Transformative Practice is now open!

The purpose of this Academy is to work with community-based organizations who are planning or have taken steps to establish an overdose prevention or harm reduction program and want to learn more about harm reduction principles. This academy is offered by Injury-Free NC a collaboration between the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch.

What is the Injury-Free NC Academy? 

The Injury-Free NC Academy is a training and program development resource for injury and violence prevention practitioners in North Carolina. Each cycle of the Injury-Free NC Academy focuses on a timely topic affecting North Carolinians. The Injury-Free NC Academy on Harm Reduction as Transformative Practice will focus on moving from theory to practice in implementing a variety of harm reduction programs to serve people who use drugs.

Over the course of the seven month training, participants will work together to learn how to operationalize harm reduction practices in their communities. Sessions will be held, at most, twice per month between January and July 2021. This structure is intended to foster regional collaboration, with harm reduction experts providing insight on best practices and lessons learned from the field.

People who are currently working with people who use drugs, want to learn more about harm reduction, and can commit to the seven meeting dates below are encouraged to apply.

Why Harm Reduction? 

Harm Reduction is a framework for reducing the negative consequences of drug use and promoting the health and dignity of people who use drugs that meets people where they are rather than making judgments about where they should be in terms of their personal health and lifestyle.

A harm reduction approach means understanding that people using drugs, even if they are not seeking treatment, should be given the care, resources, and information necessary to reduce health risks associated with drug use, and improve their general health and well-being. Harm reduction based programs provide helpful information and tools to people and empower them to use risk-reducing strategies.

Training Session Dates: 

  • February 10 & February 17
  • April 14 & April 21
  • June 16 & June 24

Cohort Gathering Dates: 

  • January 13
  • March 10
  • May 12
  • July 14

Applications are due on Friday, November 13 at 5:00 pm.

Teams will receive a response from the Injury-Free NC team by December 7.

Apply soon—space may be limited! Approximately 40 individuals will be invited to participate in the Academy following the application review.

Have questions? Email Leah Taraskiewicz at

For more information and instructions on how to apply: 2021 Harm Reduction as a Transformative Practice Academy Information Packet + Application