​Safer Use and Harm Reduction Supplies ​

Opioids can harm you. The safer-use tips below can reduce the harms you or someone you love may experience when using opioids. While these tips won’t eliminate all dangers of opioids, they will lower your chances of an overdose, infection, or other bad outcome. The purpose of these tips is to keep people who use opioids alive and well.

 Lyndsay's Story


​Tips to protect yourself

  • Come up with an overdose plan. Talk to family members and friends about what they can do to help you in case of an overdose.

  • Naloxone saves lives. Naloxone is the overdose reversal drug. Carry it with you. Let others know you have it. A trusted family member or friend can administer naloxone to save your life. It can take more than one dose of naloxone to reverse an overdose. Find locations in Kane County to get free naloxone.

  • It’s dangerous to take opioids when you are alone. If a trusted family member or friend is around and alert, they can look for the signs of an overdose and administer naloxone should an overdose occur. If a trusted family member or friend is not available, call the Never Use Alone Hotline (800-484-3731).

  • Mixing drugs is risky. Combining opioids with other drugs, including alcohol and benzodiazepines, puts you at greater risk for an overdose.

  • Consider your physical health. People living with asthma or other breathing problems, kidney issues, liver issues, and HIV are at high risk for an overdose.​ Overall health impacts the risk of an overdose. Dehydration, lack of sleep, and hunger can increase the likelihood of an overdose.​

​​Safer Prescription Opioid Use

  • Don't share your medicine. Opioids were prescribed to you based on your unique needs. A recommended dose for one person could be harmful to another person.

  • Safely store your medicine. Leaving opioids on counters or in easily accessible medicine cabinets can lead others to take your opioids without your knowledge. Store your opioids in a safe place out of reach of children and pets. The best spot is a locked box or cabinet.

  • Safely dispose of leftover medicine. There is no need to hang onto opioids you did not take. Learn how dispose of drugs safely.​

​Safer Use of Other Opioids​

  • Injecting opioids can increase the risk of overdose and infection. Reusing needles and supplies or sharing them with others increases the chance of a negative outcome, such as contracting hepatitis C or HIV. Not sanitizing the injection site beforehand can lead to infection.

  • Opioids can act fast on your brain and body. This can put you at greater risk of an overdose. People who don’t regularly consume opioids can be at greater risk of an overdose. Those who use opioids from an unknown source are also at greater risk of an overdose if they consume too much.

Get Free Naloxone

Naloxone is a medication that can quickly reverse opioid overdose if administered promptly. The Kane County Health Department and our Opioid Overdose Prevention Partners provide naloxone to anyone who needs it at no charge, with instruction on how to use it.