SSP Program Data and Reporting Hacks

Defining Terms and Methods

Readers may be familiar with some or all of the following terms and concepts. They are defined here for clarity in a harm reduction context.


  • Monitoring – the facts and data about your program and participants’ health.
  • Quality Assurance – having standards for, and mechanisms to achieve, the best possible services for participants.
  • Quality Control – making sure you meet your quality assurance goals with regard to providing services.
  • Evaluation – making sure your services meet your goals and objectives.
  • Qualitative Data – descriptive and conceptual findings collected by asking open-ended questions of both people and evidence that are then coded and analyzed.
  • Quantitative Data – information that can be counted or measured collected by asking closed-ended questions of both people and evidence that are then analyzed.


  • Needs Assessment – an assessment of the gaps between services provided and services needed. Conducting annual needs assessments are an important practice for harm reduction agencies and allows them to react quickly to a changing drug-use environment.
  • Focus Groups– entail calling together a small to medium size group to have a facilitated discussion about a topic without leading questions or collecting much, if any, quantitative data. Focus groups are recorded and analyzed for themes and data.
  • Surveys – questionnaires that may be self-administered online or in-person, or administered by staff. Surveys can consist of both quantitative and qualitative questions.
  • Interviews – qualitative interviews consist of guided interviews asking open-ended questions about a topic(s) without leading questions or collecting quantitative data. Interviews are recorded and analyzed for themes and data.

More Resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
Suggest a Resource

External Resources

Collected from around the web
There are a number of external resources that contributed to the development of Harm Reduction Hacks. Here are a selection relating to this section:


The hacks on this site are shared with you under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence. This allows you (with attribution) to adapt content for your own use, although we do ask you to then also allow others to have equal access to anything you develop. More details of this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.


We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.

Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation. 

Harm Reduction Hacks site design and implimentation by Nigel Brunsdon

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google
Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.