Working in harm reduction
all these years I’ve met some amazing people. I tend to think of them as a single harm reduction community, but in reality they are part of many distinct communities that share a basic philosophy. That philosophy, at its purest, aims to reduce individual and community harms while working to ‘meet people where they are at’ (physically and mentally) without judgement.
Rich Tapestry Of Subjects
The people in these harm reduction communities are a many and varied bunch: researchers, people who use drugs, people whose family members and friends died of overdoses, people who just decided to work in harm reduction and … well … lots of other types of folk and combinations of them all.
Yes… heroes. I don’t mean in the ‘firing beams of light out of their eyes’ way, just ordinary heroes. Some are heroes because they save lives, change stigmatising policies, or risk their liberty to help others. But, as the psychologist Philip Zimbardo says:
Heroes are those who can somehow resist the power of the situation and act out of noble motives, or behave in ways that do not demean others when they easily can.
This fits most of the harm reduction advocates I know.
There are thousands of harm reduction heroes out there, most are people that I may never get the chance to photograph. They are the people working the late shift in the needle programme, the person who is homeless but always carries naloxone or the parent that gets the accurate drug information for their teenage child. But I’ll do my best to photograph the people I can.