Harm Reduction Specialist – OPST

Position Summary

The Harm Reduction Specialist on the Outreach and Public Safety Team (OPST) works outdoors to provide services to people who use drugs (PWUD) and clean up hazardous waste. This position is NOT office based. The position is in the field every day no matter the season or weather. Services are rendered from a mobile unit stationed in neighborhoods of high need or on foot. This position involves a lot of walking and/or some climbing, carrying supplies, repeated bending and picking up items from the ground. This position also includes servicing public syringe disposal kiosks and cleaning garbage. The Harm Reduction Specialist is responsible for engaging PWUD to ensure they are enrolled in our program, oriented to our services, and that we are meeting their immediate needs with supplies, education, and referrals. This position works with active substance users who most often struggle to make changes to their use and need support and education to practice harm reduction. The Harm Reduction Specialist is also responsible for engaging community members about our work.

Reports to: Field Services Manager
Pay Rate: Hourly: $19.23 – $24.72
Position Type: Full Time
Hours Per Week: 35

  • Hands-on outreach and hazardous waste collection duties required.
  • Service areas in East Harlem where kiosks should be placed and build community support for the program.
  • Conduct regular and thorough ground clean-up of discarded syringe litter and other discarded drug use paraphernalia per agency protocols.
  • Provide syringe and other safer use supply exchange, overdose prevention training and education, disease transmission reduction education, program promotion, participant recruitment, risk reduction counseling, coordination into care.
  • Maintain meticulous and accurate documentation of all program activities as directed
  • Deescalate conflicts and set clear, consistent boundaries by maintaining a friendly but professional relationship with participants.
  • Intervene in overdoses and other critical health emergencies.
  • Provide assistance to OnPoint NYC’s wellness/holistic/care coordination programs by promoting and referring to the agency’s health and wellness services when available, such as PreP/PEP, Buprenorphine, STI testing, HCV/HIV testing, mental health counseling, acupuncture, support groups and more.
  • Provide education specific to overdose prevention and naloxone (Narcan®) administration in individual and group training sessions.
  • Escort participants from the street to the Drop-In Center for additional care and services.
  • Attend daily morning meetings, in addition to all staff meetings and trainings as directed by supervisor.
  • Must maintain a safe work environment, adhering to all OnPoint NYC and COVID-19 safety policies and procedures, at all times.
  • Perform other related tasks and responsibilities as assigned.

  • The position requires knowledge of outreach strategies, syringe exchange, overdose prevention, and HIV prevention techniques, and the ability to carry out outreach activities on the street-level with both the general population and the high-risk population.
  • Experience working with drug users, sex workers, persons experiencing homelessness, those living with mental illness, formerly incarcerated, and HIV + populations an asset. Additional preferable work experience includes training and motivating volunteers, anti-discrimination strategies, LGBTQ issues, and community organizing. Additional training will be provided.
  • Must be calm, outgoing, organized, self-motivated, and committed to working in a diverse environment while remaining teachable and open to receiving direction and feedback.
  • Must be a team player and able to work effectively with a large variety of personalities and abilities with excellent problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Must be familiar with and believe in a harm reduction philosophy, and able to communicate without judgment and shame.
  • Must be willing to work outdoors several hours per shift in various weather conditions; weekend and evening hours flexible to provide outreach services to high-risk populations that congregate during irregular hours.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing Ability to work with diverse communities (multi-gender, -ethnic, -generation, -lingual, political) as well as enthusiasm for working with individuals who are current substance users.
  • Ability to master a wide range of information and disperse it accordingly and professionally.
  • Bilingual (English and Spanish) is highly preferred.
  • Individuals from the Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Inwood, and East Harlem areas are strongly encouraged to apply.
Equal Opportunity Employer

OnPoint NYC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate relative to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical status, or history of incarceration. Individuals who have personal experience with drug use, women, people of color, members of the LGBTQI+ community, disabled individuals, and the formerly incarcerated are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please submit a cover letter outlining your experience and/or interest in harm reduction, Spanish/English proficiency, and interest in the position in addition to your curriculum vitae/resume. Applicants without a cover letter will not be considered for the position.

Please save your files with your last and first name followed by document title (e.g. Smith J Resume, Smith J Cover Letter)