Harm Reduction for Youth

Sponsor: NH Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association

This training will introduce concepts and the basic principles of Harm Reduction. We will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the value in honest conversations with youth about drugs, equipping them with the skills to navigate their risks. We will have an open exploration that drug education should be scientifically accurate, honest, and shouldn’t seek to minimize or exaggerate the risks of drugs, acknowledging the fact that not all drugs carry the same risks. This will be an interactive training to allow participants to explore biases and myths while engaging compassionately.


  • Define basic principles of Harm Reduction
  • Understand and be able to explore the value of educating youth about drugs.
  • Understand that abstinence is a form of harm reduction and abstinence goals can co-exist with harm reduction.
  • Gain knowledge of the dangers and risks of drugs and how to discuss those without minimizing or exaggerating those risks.
  • Gain knowledge around working with youth compassionately and identifying effective strategies to employ harm reduction.
  • Learn the dangers and risks of stigma and prevalence of myths that accompany fear-based strategies.

John Burns, MBA, CRSW, is a person with lived experience in recovery, a family member of a loved one in recovery and a guardian caregiver for one of his grandsons. He is the director of SOS Recovery Community Organization. John has been engaged in training delivery and development over the last 5 years at SOS. He supervises a staff of over 20 at SOS Recovery Community Organization and assists in training and supervision of three Recovery Community Centers. SOS operates syringe service programs and harm reduction supplies at all of their recovery community centers as well as a comprehensive outreach program with those experiencing homelessness and a statewide “peer-strength” program for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. John and his team at SOS worked with local and national recovery leaders and subject matter experts to develop the Art & Science of Peer-Assisted Recovery® 30 hour peer-assisted recovery training curriculum, as well as trainings on ethics, HIV prevention, and suicide prevention for peer-assisted recovery supports. John is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and completed the MINT training of new trainers in 2021. He has been trained extensively in motivational interviewing techniques through a series of trainings and train the trainers sessions and is trained in Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) Coding and is trained and authorized to complete Motivational Interviewing Competency Assessments (MICA) for coding practitioners of MI. John serves as Vice Chair on the board of the NH Harm Reduction Coalition and on the executive committee of the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Committee. He is an appointee of NH Governor Sununu on the Overdose Fatality Review Commission and is a member of the budget taskforce for the NH Governor’s Commission for Alcohol and other drugs.

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Event Details

November 16, 2023
8:30 am - 1:00 pm
130 Pembroke Road, Suite 150
Concord, NH
see registration