Season 1, Episode 14

Harm Reduction: Supporting the Safer Use of Substances

Apr 24, 2023

The Power of Prevention Podcast sat down with Phoebe Axtman, Director of Education at the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, to talk about evidence-based practices behind life-saving harm reduction services and how they are making a difference across New Hampshire.

The introduction of fentanyl into the drug supply has been a game changer in how we prevent overdoses. More people are focusing on practical strategies and ideas to keep people who use drugs engaged, safe and alive while minimizing the harm resulting from substance use. A key tenet of the harm reduction approach is to accept a person unconditionally where they are in terms of their drug use with no expectations or assumptions for treatment. The goal is to keep the person alive.

In New Hampshire and across the country, there is an urgent need to reach out to people who are struggling with substance use to offer them hope and options around safe use, treatment, and recovery. As the opioid and polysubstance overdose crisis continues, states are implementing innovative models to better meet the needs—and save the lives—of people who use substances. It is a sad reality that few people with substance use disorder receive the care or treatment they need. It is the responsibility of us all to be prepared with strategies, and to provide tools like naloxone, sterile syringes, or offer services around recovery and education specific to not using alone.

Phoebe Axtman, Director of Education of New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, joins us today to share the evidence-based practices behind these life saving services and how they are making a difference across NH.

Explore more on the topics and themes discussed in this episode:

Never Use Alone – FREE phone service where a real person stays on the line to help a person use substances safely. Call 1-800-484-3731 or visit

SAMHSA: Preventing, Recognizing and Treating Opioid Overdose – Prevention and treatment information about opioid use disorder. 

2-1-1 NH – A comprehensive source of information about local resources and services to help you take care of yourself.

Drug Policy Alliance – Provides the Safety First, Real Drug Education for Teens, which is the nation’s first harm reduction-based drug education curriculum for high school students.

Host & Guests

Featured Guest:

Phoebe Axtman

Host: Christin D’Ovidio


Episode Transcript (PDF)

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Phoebe Axtman is the Director of Education for the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition (NHHRC). Her primary role for NHHRC is educating New Hampshire residents on the importance of Harm Reduction, and how to apply evidence-based practices for preventing overdose. Phoebe moved back to her home state of New Hampshire in 2014 to serve with AmeriCorps. After working on the Governor’s Office staff, she returned to her true passion of direct service, starting her social work career in the community mental health system. While working on her Master’s in Social Work, she transitioned into the substance use treatment field because of the high need for co-occurring therapists and her personal interest. Now, as a Licensed Independent Social Worker and Master’s Level Drug and Alcohol Counselor, she is passionate about providing ethical and compassionate care to people at high risk and need. Phoebe is an at-large board member for the New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association and represents Harm Reduction on the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs Coordination & Cooperation Task Force.

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