What is Harm Reduction?
Have you ever worn a seat belt?
Have you ever utilized a designated driver or called a cab instead of driving after a night of drinking?
Have you ever intentionally drank water in between drinks to prevent a hangover?
If you said "yes" to any of the above, then you have practiced harm reduction before.
Why is harm reduction important for our communities?
Whether one likes it or not, there are people in our communities who use drugs. They aren’t strangers, criminals, or “bad people” either - they are our parents, relatives, friends, and children.
They, like us, possess the right to survive.
Difficult and unrelenting circumstances lead many to turn to drug use as an attractive coping mechanism. The effects of drugs make us feel good and release us momentarily from whatever issues are affecting our lives.
Unfortunately with fentanyl present in the drug supply, drug use puts our loved ones at risk of overdosing.
The consequences are dire. We’ve lost too many loved ones to overdose.
Thankfully, we have a resource
at our disposal.
Overdoses occur when our neurotransmitters are flooded with opioids, causing the respiratory system to shut down.
Naloxone (the generic name for Narcan) is a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose by entering the brain, booting the opioids off of the receptors, and taking their place. It works on any and all opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, and methadone.
In San Francisco in 2021 alone, it was reported that nearly 10,000 overdoses were reversed and lives were saved using Narcan availability at free distribution sites.
Many community members are still unaware
that this resource exists.
This is where we lend a helping hand.
Here's what Harm Reduction is NOT:
Here's what Harm Reduction IS.
Harm reduction doesn’t enable or promote drug use.
Harm reduction isn’t limited to people who use drugs.
Harm reduction isn’t limited to a specific type of drug.
Harm reduction doesn’t assume people are “bad” or “good” based on their usage.
Harm reduction believes in the autonomy and whole person-hood of every individual, regardless of their lifestyle choices around drug use.
Harm reduction is an evidence-backed, study-proven way to address chronic substance use.
Harm reduction means accepting the fact that some (plenty, in fact) people use drugs.
Harm reduction figures out what can be done to reduce the harm that drug use may cause, both for the individual PWUD (person who uses drugs) as well as their environment and communities.
Drugs and drug usage didn’t simply appear in the communities we call home, and we acknowledge that the dangers of overdose will not disappear overnight.
That’s why Safer Together has committed to a multidimensional approach to harm reduction that restores community agency through a combination of resourcing and interpersonal support.
Recovery 4 Health
R4H is a peer-led support group for the family and friends of people who use drugs. Our aim is to create a safe space to share, process, and receive mutual support around the struggles that come with having a loved one that is using drugs through shared experiences, learning and education, and destigmatization.
Street Outreach + Care Navigation
We work to eradicate the shame and stigma of using drugs in communities of color enough to connect services to those who need it, and debunk myths via judgment-free, unbiased, peer-led education. Through our direct and referred services, we equip communities with the tools to stay alive.
If you’re interested in working with us on this endeavor,
don’t hesitate to reach out.
Your support helps us help community members in need.
With your help, we can bring harm reduction education to as many as possible.