Harm Reduction in Action: Booty Bumping as a Safer Alternative

At OnPoint NYC, our dedicated Health Educators are committed to being at the forefront of harm reduction. They meet our community where they’re at, empowering those who use drugs to prioritize their health and well-being using harm reduction education. Whether it’s educating our neighbors out in the community, at our OPCs and Drop-In Centers, or during public events, our dedicated staff provides tools, techniques, and information that can mitigate negative health outcomes.

“Using illegal drugs always contains risk,” says Synn Stern, OnPoint’s Health Clinic Nurse. “While drug users may not have any control of the purity and potency of drugs they consume, we can give people control over those aspects of illegal drug use that are literally in their hands.”

The use of sterile and safe equipment can reduce the risk of disease, and small changes in routine—like rotating injection sites, using an alcohol wipe before injection, or doing a post-sniffing nasal rinse—can have a big impact on reducing tissue and vein damage, infections, and irritation. Switching to safer drug administration methods yields even more benefits and can prevent severe health complications.

Booty bumping, a means of consuming drugs anally, is a method we often promote as a safer alternative to injecting substances. As Synn explains, “Booty bumping – also called shelving, boofing, kiestering – can be an excellent option for someone who has difficulty finding a vein and/or does not have the ideal time, lighting, or privacy to inject.” 

It is easy to do in all environments and gives veins the chance to rest and heal. Additionally, it requires minimal preparation, as no fillers are needed, and does not carry the same infection risks as other methods. “You can booty bump material that would be inadvisable to inject – crushed pills, coagulated or sediment-filled material, the material that spilled on a bathroom floor,” Synn shares. With a delayed onset time and duration, it also allows people to find a safe space before the effects begin.   

While many OnPoint participants are initially skeptical about switching to this method, they often become converts as they realize the advantages over intravenous injections, which carry greater health risks that can often lead to complications and hospitalizations.

Watch the video below, or view our guide to learn more.


Not only does OnPoint NYC provide in-person education and hygienic materials to the community, but we also offer instructional harm reduction guides that provide accurate information on drug administration methods, precautions, and other tips to avoid overdose, infection, and severe injury. We are happy to share these tools widely – all our printed resource guides are available for download here.

Photo by Sarah Duggan / Drug Policy Alliance

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