We have never had the luxury of being innocent to viruses nor epidemics. Our most codified histories trace the emergence of harm reduction in the United States to the grassroots mobilization against the wildfire ravages of the AIDS crisis among people who use drugs through community education and syringe exchange programs. More recently, mainstream narratives of harm reduction coalesce around collective action to stem the overdose epidemic through naloxone distribution and other user-centered strategies to maximize safety in the midst of stigma, criminalization, and precarity.
But harm reduction was never just about the drugs or the deaths or the diseases; we are more than the auxiliary or stepchild of public health. Our richest work embraces much deeper and more diverse genealogies. Harm reduction is heir to the multiple legacies of the communities and struggles we come from and move through, the hybrid wisdom that emerges from communal survival in the face of threats of being dispossessed, disenfranchised, displaced, disappeared.
As we confront COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2, let us remember the gifts of harm reduction:
TO CONTINUE READING:https://medium.com/@danielraymond/harm-reduction-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-553e16c76623