After nearly 20 years of dedicated leadership in advocating for harm reduction policy reforms, 2011/2012 was a landmark year on multiple key fronts of our mission. Daily access to policy makers in Washington, D.C., refining our mature role in public health through agency rebranding, and strengthening our communications and web presence through technological upgrades have expanded our capacity to be recognized as a central resource in advancing drug user rights nationally and globally.
Our accomplishments have included:
- Organizing a concerted effort of medical, legal and advocacy experts to prepare and pass a United Nations (UN) resolution asserting drug users rights and overdose prevention globally.
- Elevating drug user health issues to a national priority to improve hepatitis C testing and treatment funding.
- Increasing the number of traditional treatment and community-based providers registered as overdose prevention programs.
- Advocating for state and regional policies that enhance drug user involvement in providing peer-to-peer syringe exchange services.
- Increasing the number of providers and drug users who have been trained and have access to harm reduction best practices, and online, print and workshop resources.
- Fortifying program sustainability and organizational development through national capacity building training and technical assistance.
- Expanding our global reach with 35,000 monthly visits to Harm Reduction Coalition’s website, 3,900 Twitter and 6,000 Tumblr followers, and 80,000 hits on our podcast page last year.
In anticipation of the 9th National Harm Reduction Conference, “From Public Health to Social Justice,” to be held in November 2012, we will ensure the representation of current issues facing our community, feature new programs, and include interactive workshop strategies. Harm Reduction Coalition has been involved in protesting U.S. policies that will hamper drug user involvement in the 2012 International AIDS Conference.
Although we experienced a setback with the reinstatement of the federal funding ban on syringe access, it has impassioned our efforts. The mainstream acceptance of community-based naloxone, hepatitis C treatment and funding advances, and the United Nation’s first drug overdose resolution have demonstrated that change is possible. Harm Reduction Coalition will continue to be a leading voice upholding every individual’s right to health and well-being and their competence to participate in the public policy dialogue.