WHAT WE DO
The Harm Reduction Action Center actively demonstrates a commitment to a participant-centered model of service, encouraging participant involvement in all facets of direct service and works to change social, health, and drug policies affecting them most. The Harm Reduction Action Center has been the primary gateway to emergency, health, and human services to injection drug users since June, 2002. By meeting clients “where they are at” in the spectrum of drug use, key elements to the HRAC’s successes include engaging IDUs in decision-making, providing comprehensive and flexible services with a range of commodities, becoming certified as a syringe access program in February 2012, engaging in strategic advocacy, and providing personally meaningful opportunities for Denver’s injection drug users to self-advocate for their needs.
People use drugs. While we wholeheartedly support substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts, we live in reality and know that the most effective way to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) is to stop it at its source: the needle. We can assure you, there is a lot of life that happens in between prevention and treatment. Our participants care about their lives and their wellbeing and can make a positive change today.
These are the harm reduction principles in which we adhere.
- Accepts, for better and or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
- Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
- Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being–not necessarily cessation of all drug use–as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
- Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
- Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
- Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
- Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
- Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.