Thanks to the generosity and support of our friends and stakeholders Team FSDP attended the 12th National Harm Reduction Conference #harmred18 in New Orleans, LA, October 18-21, representing a growing number of families who are adversely impacted by the unprecedented public health crisis surrounding substance use.
This biennial event brought together some of the most creative minds from the US and abroad to address a myriad of complex issues facing the harm reduction movement. A diverse community of people who use drugs, social justice activists, service providers, healthcare workers, researchers, policymakers, public health officials, and law enforcement gathering together determined to put an end to the harms and injustices caused by the War on Drugs.
FSDP is dedicated to serving the needs of our families and our participation in this conference is a heartfelt expression to honor our loved ones who have been lost to overdose and to save the lives of those who remain at risk.
FSDP co-founders Carol Katz Beyer and Barry Lessin were privileged to be invited to join harm reduction pioneer and visionary Patt Denning, Ph.D. on her panel: “Loving Someone Who Loves Drugs and Alcohol.”
Patt outlined specific strategies for family members and friends based on guiding principles of harm reduction including “there are no rules except the ones you make”, “establish your absolute limits”, affirm your values, “identify what’s most important for you” and “tough love is neither, and it feels bad to all”.
The packed meeting room was inspired by Carol sharing how her lived experience inspired her to advocate for impacted families by creating a space to powerfully speak the truth to the powers that be in the broken treatment-industrial complex.
Barry gave an overview of the work of FSDP and shared how family and friends can become empowered by being open to reality-based harm reduction information and sharing it with peers, planting seeds of hope in their communities.
Our dedicated team was on hand to welcome attendees at our exhibit table continuing the conversation, networking and providing conference attendees with educational materials, tutorials and resources.
Thank you Juan Fernandez Ochoa for sending us the Support Don’t Punish t-shirts. They were a big hit!
The 2018 Harm Reduction Conference comes at a time when harm reduction, health care, and drug policy reform have entered a dynamic and critical phase. The prescription opioid and heroin overdose epidemic has captured national attention, with renewed focus on transmission of HIV and Hep C among people who use drugs. These trends are reshaping the policy and public health landscapes, making harm reduction more urgent and relevant than ever before.