HEALING THE HARMS OF RACIALIZED DRUG POLICIES: A NEW NORTH STAR STATEMENT

2017 has been a challenging year for many of us in the harm reduction movement. Between a dramatic shift in the political landscape and the increased toll of the overdose epidemic, we are challenged to rethink how we do our work, and to what ends. What is the work of harm reduction in this moment, and how do we imagine harm reduction futures?

Harm Reduction Coalition remains deeply committed to our mission and the harm reduction principles that have grounded our efforts and inspired our staff for over two decades. But we also recognize that we’re at a critical juncture in our movement, demanding that we take a more strategic and intersectional approach to securing transformational change.

We realized that we were seeking a new way to orient us, a clear vision to guide us moving forward: a North Star.

On behalf of the Harm Reduction Coalition, we are thrilled to present our new North Star statement to you—our beloved community.

Harm Reduction Coalition creates spaces for dialogue and action that help heal the harms caused by racialized drug policies.

Our North Star statement has three key implications for Harm Reduction Coalition:

First, the mandate to create spaces for dialogue and action compels us to play new roles as conveners, facilitators, coalition builders, and mobilizers that move us beyond our traditional core activities in training, capacity building, and policy. Second, the call to help heal harms makes explicit a broader vision of harm reduction that extends beyond prevention and risk reduction, pushing us towards reparative strategies to address trauma, social divisions, injustices and inequities, and health. Third, we name racialized drug policies as a nexus of damage and threat to all people who use drugs.