There are so many lovely things about harm reduction that gets my heart all fuzzy and warm feeling, but the one thing I love nothing more is listening to other passionate people speak about harm reduction. There is something in their eyes that is shining and glimmering with excitement when they are talking about harm reduction practices, strategies or scientific research. Ready to deliver to anyone who will listen. Once you are engaged and listening to them speak, you are drawn to them. You are pulled in by the passion in their voice and the shivers they give you thinking of the change that our society can when it comes to harm reduction and drug policies. Making us believe in harm reduction just as passionately as they do. Harm reduction saves lives and our society needs to be embracing this forum of Public Health. We need to start removing the stigma associated around these services because not all people who use harm reduction practices are street level. That is the biggest issue I think Harm Reduction Organizations face is, "how do we get all demographics involved" and "not let them ignore the opioid crisis". For starters, we need to look at the way transformation festivals have been utilizing these services as part of their organizations essential teams for years. These festivals get it! They recognize no matter how hard security searches a guest, they can not stop drugs from coming in. Festival organizers decided to meet guests where they are at instead by providing life saving tools, education and strategies to help keep their attendees save. Another great cultural aspect of festival communities is that "we take care of one another". If a person is looking like they are having a hard time, guaranteed yourself or someone else will step in to see if they are ok or if they need a helping hand. At a transformation festival, you generally meet people who are passionate about helping other people and keeping everyone safe. Harm reduction was born to flourish in a festival setting, but what about in the cities? It comes back to the stigma because in festivals we "normalize" drug use by providing those open free non judgement areas that allow people to partake freely, They do not feel like they have to hide when taking a substance that enhances their surroundings. When you partake in substances in the nightlife scene, more stigma is associated and people direct a negative light on you. Where does the support continue to come from for those individuals who choose to partake? Our society needs to take on a festival mentality in order to gain more acceptance for party based harm reduction. So I will leave you with this, find your voice and find your passion about Harm Reduction because we need more people on to leave people with chills and inspirations on where our community can go when embracing harm reduction in all aspects of substance use.
Harm Reduction Works
Harm Reduction Saves Lives