Why We Need “The Big Book of Harm Reduction”

Since I first learned about and became interested in harm reduction — they virtually happened simultaneously some three years ago — I’ve long sought out a manual on building harm reduction (HR) infrastructure: Harm Reduction for Dummies, if you will.

I still haven’t found it.

Grassroots harm reductionists and fledgling HR-related organizations in places without any harm reduction infrastructure have no clue how to grow. We don’t know how to do this stuff. The only people who do are those in areas with better-developed HR infrastructure (e.g., New York, California, Canada, Portugal).

Even then, I feel like expanding harm reduction here in Tennessee — or, hell, the entirety of the (rural) American South — will require substantial deviation from what’s worked in other areas (again, New York, California, or Canada, for example).

Here’s What I’m Trying to Say

We need to collectively build “The Manual of Harm Reduction.” It’ll help mobilize grassroots harm reductionists like me and the many drug-related organizations that are held together with twigs and bubble gum — and that, unfortunately, happens to be a lot of them.

How can we go about doing this?

I’m not sure — I’m not even going to act like I’ve got the answers. However, I am willing to proofread and revise any harm reduction-related writing or resources you’ve got — yes, you!

One thing I think we need to do for sure is start talking about “The Manual of Harm Reduction” among fellow harm reductionists.

What Might “The Manual of Harm Reduction” Look Like?

Most likely, we’d have a collection of essays and articles as opposed to a textbook-type thing. In order to decide what issues and pieces of work are most important, we’d get together and decide what’d make a final, more-condensed version.

It also might behoove us to categorize “The Manual’s” content by location, if not come up with an entirely separate manual for places like the American South.

But Most Importantly…

You need to start talking about the idea for “The Manual of Harm Reduction,” or whatever the hell you wanna call it. It doesn’t matter what we call it — and it also doesn’t matter who gets credited for this idea.

In other words, don’t float this as Daniel Garrett’s idea — rather, consider it the entire (North) American harm reduction community’s idea.

One thought on “Why We Need “The Big Book of Harm Reduction””

  1. AMEN
    I’m building capacity in the Appalachian foothills of Northern Alabama. There ain’t shit from Nashville and Birmingham, and from Atlanta back West to … uh … someplace past Mississippi. So besides being in the veritable buckle on the Bible Belt, having ZERO funding, one volunteer, and a massive amount of school work, work work, state legislative policies to change, 47.3 MILLION WEBINARS TO ATTEND, and a nonprofit waiting to come out of the quarantine closet and launch, I also have to rest every now and then.
    I moved back home from New Orleans, where I’d been volunteering with Trystereo for a good while only to discover there were no HR volunteer opportunities here – I didn’t say no need.

    So I got to work doing my thing… and now I’m about 75% more gray haired than before and I’m exhausted and I cry a lot.

    Let’s make this thing you said happen please.

    Anti stigma
    Navigating the good ol boy network
    Tricks for tools / tools for tricks


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