Harm reduction focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support. Harm reduction is rooted in a commitment to addressing discrimination and ensuring that nobody is excluded from the health and social services they may need because of their drug use, race, gender, identity, sexual orientation, choice of work, or economic status.
Members of the CORE team and other harm reduction practitioners accept people who use drugs as they are and are committed to meeting them “where they are” in their lives without judgement or expectation. In a society that often overlooks (or looks down on) people who are unstably housed and/or use substances, harm reduction outreach is vital in combatting stigma and making people feel seen, safe and supported. Our team works to eliminate stigma by providing education and resources across the state of Rhode Island.
Wednesday, August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day and one thing that is very important for people to understand is that overdose death is absolutely preventable if we work together to save lives. Nasal naloxone is integral to keeping people alive in this public health crisis. It is easy to use and non-invasive; the medication is absorbed through the mucous membrane in the nose. Even if you think this isn’t something that will ever affect you, I encourage you to carry naloxone - better for you to have a kit you never use than need a kit and not have one.
After a year where more than 100,000 people died from an overdose, it is imperative that we all do what we can to save lives. If you are interested in getting naloxone on International Overdose Awareness Day, stop by any of the distributions happening statewide to get your kit. If you would like naloxone delivered to your home (or other location) please reach out 401-603-6069. We offer naloxone and all other harm reduction supplies free of charge. If you are worried about requesting supplies, please rest assured this service is anonymous; our goal is to keep people safe and alive.
Stacey Levin is a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, Certified Community Health Worker, and Program Manager of the C.O.R.E. team (Community Outreach Response Efforts) at Parent Support Network of RI.