Comprehensive Harm Reduction

Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) is a set of public health strategies intended to reduce the negative impact of drug use including HIV, hepatitis C, other infections, overdose and death among people who are unable or not ready to stop using drugs.

CHR includes the distribution of sterile and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes, education, referral to drug treatment, testing, and an array of other health services.

Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) sites must be authorized by the State Health Commissioner.  CHR standards and application materials are available on this page.  As of July 1, 2020, organizations wishing to conduct CHR programs will have fewer restrictions in establishing services and obtaining authorization.   The major changes to the previous law are:

  1. CHR sites can be established in any jurisdiction in Virginia.  The previous law allowed sites only in specific communities at greatest risk for a Hepatitis C or HIV outbreak.
  2. Potential sites are no longer required to obtain letters of support from law enforcement, local government, and the local health director in order to apply.
  3. CHR program participants now have protection from prosecution for possession of paraphernalia acquired through the program. Previously only CHR site staff and volunteers had this protection.
  4. The number of mandatory core services has been reduced, which may enable smaller organizations to apply for authorization. Agencies seeking VDH funding, however, must still offer the full range of CHR services.

CHR staff at Lenowisco Health District.

Authorized CHR Sites in Virginia

For general information on opioid addiction:  

If you need assistance with substance use:  

For questions about HIV or hepatitis contact the Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline at (800) 533-4148 or hiv-stdhotline@vdh.virginia.gov.  For information about CHR programs, contact Bruce Taylor at bruce.taylor@vdh.virginia.gov or (804) 864-8015.

VA C.O.P.E.S. Warm Line

Virginia C.O.P.E.S., which stands for compassionate, optimistic, person-centered, empowering support, is a “warm” line set up to help people who are having trouble dealing with the changes in our lives due to COVID-19.  Callers can receive emotional support and referrals for mental and behavioral health and other services. Unlike 911, which is used only for emergencies, a warm line offers support and gives people the chance to talk about their struggles and mental health. The COVID Warm Line info is:

  • (877) 349-6428 Toll Free
  • 9:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M. Monday - Friday
  • 5:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. Saturday and Sunday

Spanish speaking counselors are available.  More information can be found at: vacopes.com and on their Facebook page (VA COPES).

Last Updated: October 7, 2020.