Contrary to the sentiment behind the War on Drugs, punishment is not an effective deterrent to drug use. Most Americans receive a fear-based, abstinence-only form of drug “education” in school, which does little to teach people about the true effects of drugs, the many reasons that influence people to use them, or how to reduce associated harms. When some people inevitably satisfy their curiosity about drugs or notice their loved ones are doing so, the lack of factual, comprehensive drug education leaves consumers at a higher risk of drug-related illness, hospitalizations, psychological consequences, and death. Studies show that honest, harm reduction education works better than abstinence-only models.

We invoke a harm reduction approach that helps parents, teachers, event organizers, businesses, and government agencies create safer, healthier environments and effectively advocate for public health options in drug-using populations. Drawing on nearly a decade of policy and community education experience, my work is informed by the way drugs intersect with our country’s history, scientific research, public health, law enforcement, and institutional racism and other forms of prejudice.

Our approach is evidence-based, holistic, compassionate, and growth oriented. 

Pricing is competitive and negotiable. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our hourly rates are reduced but always exist on a sliding scale. We are happy to negotiate.

 

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For Parents & Teachers

Do you need to have “the drug talk” with your kids, but don’t know where to start? Are you fed up with unrealistic drug prevention and intervention resources?

The overdose crisis is the leading cause of accidental/preventable death in the US, surpassing even car accident fatalities each year. For the same reasons we teach teens about safe driving and the importance of seat belts, we should also teach them how to reduce the risks associated with drug use. Sadly, most drug education programs, including those found in schools, are based on shame, fear, and avoidance. Much of the guidance given to parents mirrors that failed approach.

Instead of practical tools for countering peer pressure and resources for how to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with drug use, young people are sent home from school with only one option: Just say no. This has not worked, and it did not work with sex education either. 

What does work is education and support rooted in harm reduction. With this lens, we understand that some young people are going to use drugs, just as they explore other risky behaviors. Abstinence is always the safest option, but young people don’t always choose that option. With an education in harm reduction, young people are better equipped to help each other through difficult situations, avoid catastrophic mistakes, and lead healthier lives. 

We can help you prepare for hard conversations and facilitate by holding neutral, judgement-free space. As harm reduction consultants and peer educators, we provide resources, share personal experiences, listen intently, offer tools for overdose prevention, and suggest strategies to avoid and manage the range of drug use one might encounter in themselves or a loved one.

We can help you help your child foster a lifelong interest in self-efficacy and self-care. And we can help you approach them with confidence and the right tools to help along the way. We approach each individual and family with an open mind and a full heart. 

Think about the last time you talked to your child about drugs. Did they respond with rolled eyes, boredom, or a dismissive attitude? Or did they lean toward you and engage with genuine interest, taking your words seriously? 

The first scenario is more common than the second, but it doesn’t have to be!

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For Festivals & Events

Events, conferences, and festivals of all kinds include populations of people who use drugs. In the ’80s and ’90s, US drug law attempted to curtail the spread of crack-cocaine – and then MDMA – use by placing a federal ban on knowingly harboring a drug-involved premises.  This scared event promoters and venue owners out of providing much-needed education and services.  In October 2018, the Department of Justice wrote to the Amend the RAVE Act campaign to clarify that providing fact-based harm reduction education at events is not in violation of the RAVE Act. (There’s an embed of the letter exchange at the bottom of this article.)

In creating a space where people gather for work, play, or ceremonial reasons, event organizers hold some amount of responsibility for creating a safe environment for participants. What’s missing from too many events are education and services designed to address the unique public health needs of people in those communities who use drugs. People who organize, host, and work at events in which people are known to be using both legal and/or illegal drugs should know the difference between overwhelm, overintoxication, and overdose of different types of drugs and how to respond to each, if and when appropriate. Events should provide spaces where people can ride out difficult experiences with the help of trained staff and implement additional harm reduction services, such as syringe exchanges or sharps disposal, whenever possible. 

We have received training from the Zendo Project to provide psychedelic peer support for people experiencing difficult altered states. My methodologies for event-based harm reduction come from extensive firsthand experience assisting people in drug-induced states of distress and from the Manual of Psychedelic Support, which is available for free.

No matter what type of event you are organizing, we can help improve the health and sustainability of your community. We provide custom workshops; ongoing support before, during, and after events; educational programming for event hosts, staff, and participants; and long-term harm reduction infrastructure plans. We can help you reduce drug-related emergencies and promote a responsible, informed culture that participants are excited to be a part of.

Schedule a free consultation!

For Businesses & Agencies

Given the hardships caused by chaotic drug use, incarceration, and overdoses, it’s no mystery why talking about drugs can be challenging. In some way, all Americans are affected by legal or illegal drug use. Our emotional reactions can guide us in this important work to change drug culture and policies for the better. But, if left unchecked, they can also impede strategic thinking, dilute our message, and push away potential supporters.

We help businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies develop strategic messages to communicate about drug-related issues both internally (i.e. staff policies) and externally (i.e. lobbying/advocacy). We help entities define communication guidelines; construct talking points, web content, and testimony; train spokespeople; develop programming and long-term infrastructure; and build their capacity to advocate for drug policy reform. 

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