Program and Role: Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego County, Founding Director
What are you most grateful for? The ability to connect with others where they are and to share space with people from a place of love. I am grateful that harm reduction is such a passionate movement, full of compassion. I am grateful for all of you!
What is the most useful thing you carry? Narcan, empowerment, advocacy, warm smile and a hug.
Program and Role: Chief, Office of Viral Hepatitis Prevention, California Department of Public Health
What are you most grateful for? I am most grateful for the women, queers, and people of color whose contributions are not always lauded but whose wisdom, generosity, and humor taught me everything I know.
What is the most useful thing you carry? I carry the faith that people (who use drugs) can and do care for ourselves and each other.
Program and Role: New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, Director of Harm Reduction Services
What are you most grateful for? The survival skills I learned during my chaotic drug use, which still get me through every day of my life.
What is the most useful thing you carry? Candy! There's a nostalgic throwback-vibe to candy; sweet treats start a lot of good conversations, and peoples' faces light up when you remember their favorites. I'm like a grandma pulling candies out of my bag. I keep a stash in my trunk for outreach, right next to the harm reduction supplies.
What are you most grateful for? I'm grateful for my family, both chosen and biologic. Everyone embraces and practices harm reduction, including my parents, ex-law enforcement in their 70s, and my kids in their early 20s, starting out as volunteers and staff at Harm Reduction Coalition conferences, syringe access programs, LGBTQ and disability advocates.
Program and Role: Co-Chair Peer Network Of New York
What are you most grateful for? Being able to connect with Doctor through telephone or video and help Participants get on Suboxone. Connecting to different harm reduction orgs and get harm reduction supplies to the community because some harm reduction orgs have closed or reduced there hours.
What is the most useful thing you carry? Naloxone, harm Reduction supplies and a list of different services as food, shelter and treatment to substance use disorder.
Program and Role: Founder of Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition
What are you most grateful for? I am most grateful for my community of Harm Reduction friends and family. I've had the good fortune to make so many strong relationships within this community as I've made my way through various roles in the field over the past decade. From developing friendships with fellow outreach volunteers at HIPS in Washington, DC to building sister-like relationships with other young women leading organizations in Red States, this community has supported me through periods of strength and growth, periods of transition, and during times that have been really, really painful. I feel very honored to work in a professional community among and with people who I also consider to be family - I don't know if everyone is as fortunate to get to work with people they love, day in and day out, year after year.
What is the most useful thing you carry? Because of the nature of harm reduction work, we are often on-call 24/7. This has its upsides and downsides, but it is one of the consequences of working to build a network of care where our "traditional" public health, health care, and social service systems don't extend (and then waiting for those systems to catch up and bring the funding with them). Many people see their cell phone as a curse - a distraction, a time waste, a machine that distorts time and attention and ruins the mind. For me, my cell phone represents dozens of ways that someone can contact me for support or services. It's extremely useful to have a device in your hand that allows you to meet people through whatever form of communication they can find access to, be it voice call, text, facebook messenger, encrypted messaging, email, etc. The Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition's voice and text message hotline (as well as our social media accounts) routes to my cell phone, so carrying this thing with me everywhere I go is often times the first and best way that I make contact with members of our community who are looking for harm reduction services and support. It also means that I can typically work from anywhere - there are some days when I may accompany a client to an hours-long visit at the emergency department, drive a mass delivery of naloxone half-way across our state, or sit in a series of committee meetings. Where ever I am, I often need to be multiple other places at the same time, like with another client or at another meeting. My phone allows me to be multiple places at once.
Program and Role: I am a Manager of Harm Reduction Services at the Alliance LES Harm Reduction Center (LESHRC). I provide mental health counseling, referrals, training, education, space, compassion, and love to people who use drugs. I also assist with task, clinical, and administrative supervision for peers and MSW interns!
What are you most grateful for? I am so grateful for my partner (Mike!), our cat (Snacks!), and my friends who bring humor and levity into my life. I am also deeply grateful for the harm reduction family I have made during my time in NYC; ya'll are brilliant role models, fearless leaders, and relentless activists. I am also grateful for biking and the freedom and joy it continues to bring to my life.
What is the most useful thing you carry? Narcan, bottle opener, lighter, LESHRC master key, phone.
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