Our Mission: To educate, empower and advocate for the health and dignity of Metro-Denver’s injection drug users and affected partners in accordance with harm reduction principles.
This June, we celebrate the Harm Reduction Action Center's 12th year as a provider in Denver for people who inject drugs. That is 12 years of loving drug users. So yes, it is official, we are raising a tween. Thank you to our longtime supporters who have celebrated our successes and raised hell with us when things haven't gone our way. Welcome to our newest supporters, as we continue to push forward as leaders in the Denver community. We couldn't raise this tween without any of you.
Recently, on Mother's Day, we received this message from the mother of one of our participants on our Facebook fan page. We were so humbled that she would remember us on that day and had a thoughtful message for us.
As a mom, the first time I walked into your center I was shocked and overwhelmed. I took home piles of your literature and poured over it, and at first I was shocked and angry! "They're teaching my son how to shoot up?!?" But at the end of the day, after I listened to the well meaning voices of treatment centers and self help groups telling me I just had to let go and let my son hit bottom...and after I witnessed where that "bottom" had led to for my son...what I discovered is that, even when I myself, his mother, had more or less written my own son off to face the stigma, hatred and dehumanization of the streets, YOU were there, helping him hang on, treating him with dignity, compassion and respect, and keeping him alive, even as the rest of the world shit on him. I have so many regrets, things I wish I could take back, but I want you to know that "Thank You" just doesn't begin to express the gratitude I feel for you harm reduction angels. This Mother's Day, you have a huge piece of my heart! Read Ellen's Mothers Day story about her relationship with her son.
Interested in knowing about something cool that happened last fall in Denver at the International Drug Policy Reform conference? You have 35 minutes to school yourself about how the five drug user unions in the United States became the United States Alliance of Drug User Unions? Watch right now.
Lastly, did you get the memo that There's More to Colorado Than Marijuana? Yep, harm reduction and criminal justice reform are making shit happen. Wouldn't you agree?
The Harm Reduction Action Center continues society's goal to reach the most marginalized, create community where there is not, and help the most lost find a direction home.
Anyone who has been inflicted with or affected by addiction knows that drug use is a complex, multi-faceted issue; reducing personal harm associated with injection drug use is particularly complex. Injection Drug Users (IDU) often experience chronic homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, poor mental/physical health, discrimination, and trauma histories.
1. Provide IDUs with relevant skills, education and behaviors that reduce the harmful effects of marginalized lifestyles on the individual and the larger public.
2. Decrease HIV, HCV and other drug-related health conditions by providing legal harm reduction supplies.
3. Empower Denver IDUs to advocate and participate in social change issues of their interest including homelessness, alleviation of poverty, healthcare needs, incarceration re-entry, and access to clean syringes**
4. Expand awareness and access to health services to diverse IDU groups, particularly through the use of client peer-educators
5. Educate and advocate for Colorado political leaders to garner a position on a community syringe exchange program**
6. Increase access and utilization of available medical services for IDUs who are stigmatized by adverse social or health conditions while advising health care providers in best practices
Please check out some local coverage of syringe exchange issues in Denver.
The Harm Reduction Action Center depends completely on donations from individuals, organizations and foundations to provide basic necessities, legal harm reduction and wound care supplies, health intervention incentives, safe syringe disposal. Without your support we could not exist.
Food for Clients
Brought to you by www.HarmReduction.org
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use and then to abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users "where they're at," addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.
Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for the implementation of harm reduction. However, HRC considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice.
Accepts, for better and for worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
Establishes quality of individual and community life and well being - not necessarily cessation of all drug use - as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people's vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.