"Although money cannot buy social change, no significant change can happen without it."
- George Pillsbury


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Our Mission

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.

Action Center Supporters,
2013 has been our best year yet. 'Course, don't we say that every year?

Colorado's largest syringe access provider (1,605 enrolled). 900 new people enrolled just this year. We see 60 people per morning. In 650 sq. feet. Just sayin'

Remember when we had Dr. Carl Hart speak at his exclusive Denver event for us in October?! And now you can't turn on the television without seeing him being interviewed. Sure, we didn't discover him ... but we brought him to an event near you.

You like data? We've got it. How many referrals we provided? Primary drug of choice? How many syringes we've disposed? Average age at intake? Scroll down past the ol' overdose proclamation, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper in August 2013, for our last 2 years of SAP data.

Ruth, our Syringe Access Director and Senior Health Educator, celebrated her 10 years with HRAC. Can you believe it?

334 people took one of our health education classes this year - HIV/HCV 101, Overdose Prevention with access to Naloxone, Vein Care, and Break the Cycle. That means 334 folks have accurate, correct, health information to be our grassroots ground army on the streets of Denver.

We introduced 2 new staff members, Iain is our AmeriCorps VISTA and Tarik is our Programs Director and an infectious disease physician.

Ruth and Lisa presented HRAC's programs, services, and newest laws at 19 roll calls for the Denver Police Department. HRAC and DPD have a mutually beneficial relationship in helping to keep Denver healthier and safer for everyone.

Because 86% of our participants are homeless, our former AmeriCorps VISTA Joy (a homeless outreach worker for St. Francis Center) met with 192 of our folks to assist in garnering birth certificates, identification cards, and transitional housing.

The HRAC led three key and successful harm reduction policy's in 2013! (Senate Bill 14, Senate Bill 208, and Mobile Syringe Exchange in Denver)

97 participants received acupuncture by Brandee from Unity Community Acupuncture.

AND, don't forget we were featured in Mother Jones with our photography campaign which will again be showcased in the Colorado State Capitol in the Rotunda from 2/11/14-2/21/14 ... tell your local legislator to stop by.


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.

Dates to Remember

Stay Tuned!


Thank you to our friends at the Westword for their blog about the HRAC's syringe access program data.

How We Respond to the Public Health Needs of the IDU

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.

How we use your donation?

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.

Thank you!

Clean supplies


Food for Clients

Principles of Harm Reduction

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.