harm reduction

Fentanyl OD Alert for heroin users & friends of heroin users - especially on the east coast!

From NYT

Recently, 22 people died in and around Pittsburgh after overdosing from a batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl, a powerful opiate usually found in patches given to cancer patients. Heroin containing fentanyl, which gives a more intense but potentially more dangerous high, has begun to appear in New York City, said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for Bridget G. Brennan, the special narcotics prosecutor for the city. An undercover officer bought fentanyl-laced heroin on Jan. 14 from a dealer in the Bronx, she said. The dealer did not warn of the mixture, which is not apparent to the user; subsequent testing revealed it. (The patches themselves had turned up in drug seizures in the city before, she said.)

For any NYC people who are interested in getting trained in opiate overdose reversal, you can find programs that do this training for free here. 

(Also, I work for Streetwork Project, the organization mentioned above & you can find more info about our services offered to homeless youth in our LES/Harlem drop-ins here.

A friend of mine shared this on my newsfeed today and I thought it would a nice idea to repost it here for the Nod Squad.

We are all fully aware of our drug use and with that awareness comes the responsibility towards ourselves and each other to educate about harm reduction, because sometimes sobriety genuinely is not an option and I know that’s true for myself as well as many of you.

So yeah, I won’t harp on harm reduction too often, but I care about you guys.

- garagedad

Proper angle to inject intravenously. Remember, when you think you are in a vein, pull back the plunger and see if blood flows into the barrel - this is called registering. If it did, you’re good to go. And always have the needle pointed toward you when injecting so that you’re going along with the flow of blood toward your heart.

Be safe!

Harm Reduction for meth users

Harm Reduction

EATING

In order to maintain the lifestyle of frequently using the user must eat. It’s no secret that eating on meth is difficult and seems like a chore. Instead a user must look at the bigger picture. Eating replenishes the things meth takes away in order to keep using meth you must have some more energy left in your tank. Simple as that. Then you must look at the health factors induced from meth, eating helps reduce these negative sides of the drug dramatically.The user will not quickly look like they are on drugs to the general public from rapid weight loss also. The user will more than likely not gain weight but if their normal weight is maintained most people will not suspect foul play which is beneficial in this lifestyle. “How is a user to eat with no appetite?” You may ask. Simple. The user must force themselves. Smoking marijuana may help. The “munchies” seem to make marijuana users wolf down tons of food. It may or may not take the edge off the users voided appetite at any rate if the user has access and enjoys marijuana why not try it? Stick to foods that are not dry. Keep a drink of some sort in order to wash the meal down with. Moisture in the food is key as users mouths tend to be dry. Making it painfully difficult to eat food.Fruits are a good option as they tend to have high water concentration in them which makes them very easy to eat. In conclusion users should keep themselves fed by not missing many meals eating healthy, and eating smart. Also use a mouth was called Biotene for dry mouth. Helps if you can’t swallow food and prevents meth mouth. Meth mouth is not cause by any “chemical” in the drug but is do to lack of saliva which naturally protects your teeth.

2. GOING TO BED

In order to maintain the lifestyle the user needs to do another body replenishing exercise known as sleeping. It’s recommended that the user make an attempt to maintain their normal bed time everyday. A speculator may ask. How is a user to sleep when the drug is made to keep them up and going? Simple enough again. Forcing and discipline. Eating a good meal prior to bed, quit using meth beforehand in order to relieve some of the effects. A good rule is stop 4 to 5 hours before the user would normally go to bed. In bed obtain the user should get the most comfortable position and lay there and prepare for a long night of tossing and turning. Even if sleep doesn’t come the user at least recuperated their body by relaxing. There are tricks to getting asleep. One is drink a lot of alcohol which is unhealthy but effective. Another is using sleeping pills which is still not very good for you. Then there is getting a mindset where the users brain just shuts off and they fall sleep. To do this the user must lay comfortably and start to think of a topic that drags on and on. Not really focusing on the topic but just kind of running it through their head. If it’s boring enough the user will normally get relaxed enough to fall asleep. 3 to 5 hours of sleep normally feels like an 8 hour night to a user while under the influence. If it starts getting late and the user feels like giving up and just getting more high, they shouldn’t quit trying. When the user gets for the day up they can use more meth in order to get over any lethargy and get on with their day feeling at least somewhat rested.

3. METH-MOUTH

A frequent user usually falls prey to some degree of this tooth decaying predator known as “meth-mouth”. This repulsive condition must be avoided at all costs to maintain the users mouth properly without looking like a toothless addict. This tip is a bit easier than the first two. It’s very simple, after smoking the drug, snorting, or whatever. The user will find it beneficial to immediately gargle mouth wash thoroughly, along with brushing with a good stiff tooth brush getting every last nook and cranny. Including the gums, tongue, anything reachable in the mouth. Doing this immediately after usage greatly reduces dry mouth caused by the meth’s ability to draw in moisture. It will not completely get rid of the meth particles as they are constantly flowing through saliva, but it none the less does have benefits. Another good way to maintain teeth is drinking milk to build strong teeth which most people have been hearing their whole lives. Teeth grinding is sometimes done without notice, gum isn’t very good for teeth but the user must weigh the pros and cons and choose whether or not to put a stick of gum in their mouth to avoid some tooth chipping caused by grinding. Paying attention to what your mouth is doing will help, and as stated before this will be easier to do if there is sleep in the user’s system.

4. EMPLOYMENT

In order to maintain this lifestyle the user must have a source of income to pay for the things they need along with the drug unless the user is cooking it which is not recommend and very dangerous. If the work place is a drug-free zone where random urinalysis are given. There are ways around this, the method is falsifying to your work and may result in termination, but usually not illegal depending on the users job. There are pills out there that are pretty expensive that if taken 3 hours before your urine test result in a clean slate on the test. They are expensive but very useful to a user. This pill can be kept on the user at all times easily for quick use in the event of a testing. What is not recommended is hauling around urine in a pocket. In order to use this it needs to be heated to register correctly which under pressure like that would be hard to do. Option 1 is simplest. The user must maintain the job, do what is expected, and earn. If this is maintained crime such as robbery, burglary, and any other profit gaining crime can be avoided with an honest income.

5. DEALERS

It’s vastly recommended that a user does not try to quickly rise up the ranks of dealers in order to find the next big thing. This could result in getting way to deep with less than reputable characters. It can easily land a user in the hot seat. It’s recommended that the user keep 3 trustworthy dealers in mind. Trustworthy people who are low key, that don’t talk about what the user does, and the user does the same back. The user must find which dealer fits the criteria of low key and decently affordable. The dealer doesn’t have to be the best bargain, convenience and security is more important but the user should invest in a scale in order to make sure they get what they paid for. If the dealer isn’t what the user thought then move on to another. Keep extra dealers to go to in the event the users current dealer gets in trouble or quits. No dealers means no substance simple as that.

6. SLEEPING AROUND

Not recommended but very passionate and energetic when performed. It’s no question meth increases libido, and users will probably find more than usual numbers of sexual encounters if the user socializes properly. It’s highly recommended during sex to have the male wear a condom unless they are committed to the partner. If safe sex isn’t practiced and the user sleeps with lots of people. The odds of STD’s and unwanted pregnancies are substantially high. Safe is better than sorry.

7. LOW PROFILE

In order to not get caught using or possessing the user must not tip anyone off of their usage with anyone besides dealers. Very easily the wrong people could find out and the user could easily experience being labeled a bad person by people who will tell others. Which could in turn make it back to their work resulting in loss of employment or authorities which could lead to jail time or mandatory rehab or both. A good rule of thumb to stay under the radar is think about it like this. For every 1 person that knows the user gets high it’s a 10% more chance they will get caught. So if 10 people know. The chances of getting caught are 100%. The user may as well stay quiet and enjoy their high alone knowing almost everyone is oblivious to what is going on. All the while keeping a relatively good status in society.

8. DATING A USER, Not Recommended

This is a recipe for disaster. It commonly results in arguments about drugs that get very intense due to the decreased levels of serotoninin the brain which basically causes lack of happiness after long term use. The chances of dating a user and it blowing up in the other users face some way. Is very high. Total trust in that person would be required. Freedom and life could be in the balance. It’s not worth it

9. DATING NON-USERS, Recommended

Hide the drugs. Don’t talk about it. Leave it out of the picture. What the person doesn’t know can’t hurt them. Keep going about the relationship as any other. If the significant other doesn’t even know. Why would the police or anyone else have reason to know? This tip may make you feel bad but it’s crucial to not getting caught. Also way healthier and probably in the long run will get the user to stop getting high.

10. HIDING PARAPHANALIA

Whether or not the user is living with others they still must practice hiding all drug related materials when not in usage in the off chance they get served a search warrant by police or someone stumbles across everything illegal. In picking the place to hide things the user must consider accessibility, and conspicuousness. Hide different items in different places, plain site can be good if their’s a false bottom or cranny that people do not see or touch. Possibly in a backyard shed, inside of an object in the shed, or buried if the ground is dirt depending on the item. Thought just needs to be put forth. Frequently used items should receive new spots two times a month to increase the odds of not getting caught. Consider if people would find what you are trying to hide as if they knew, and attempted to thoroughly look for it.

11. LEAVE THE STASH AT HOME

After receiving it immediately take the substance into your house and store it. Do not roam around town with drugs you could easily get caught if a cop pulled you over and suspected you were high. Leave drugs well hidden at home! Simple.

12. MONEY

Set money aside from your checks every week to pay for your fix. Be secret about what you make and where it goes. Act like it bothers you if people come asking. If others live in the house keep your paper money hidden until the dealer can meet you. Budget yourself properly in everyday life to compensate what you spend on the substance.

13. 2ND CELLPHONE

A user should invest in a prepaid cellphone or a wifi calling app like Textnow. they are fairly cheap and it’s great to cover up tracks. User’s should only use this phone for setting up deals and they should not add numbers of dealers into it. They should memorize them or write bits of them in different places. The user should keep this phone well hidden and usually turned off.

14. RATIONING

Using the drug in moderation calculate how much you can smoke a day according to your budget and health. Going overboard with it may lead to the user not getting high on what amount did it before which causes more and more being smoked as they go on. The user will find this takes a great deal of discipline. Starting off small and very slowly go up.

15. RATIONALIZE

Rationlizing is key to making decisions in this lifestyle. Decisions could cause or prevent harm. Trying to keep a clear thinking head could be the biggest battle of all for a user. Meth is known to easily change ambitions and ways of thinking.

QUITTING?

In the event that the user decides they’ve had enough of the drug or an event happened that provokes quitting they will need to be able to come down from the life peacefully if the user has enough discipline to follow all these tips and not get caught and keep a decent health. They certainly have enough to quit. Preparation is still needed to do this. What is recommended is that the user pick a stop day and request a week long vacation at their work. Stop on the stop day and sleep most of the week off that they got off from work also destroy any paraphernalia. At the end of the detox week they will be mostly back to normal but still crave the drug but discipline enough to know they decided to stop and not go back. Now the user must

re-evaluate life.

BAD HEROIN ALERT!

*As of June 3, 2015*  There have been some hospitalizations and deaths from heroin cut with strychnine in downtown New Orleans.

Strychnine is an active ingredient in rat poison. It works by messing with the way your nerves signal to your muscles, so the signals can’t stop. This causes very painful muscles spasms, and can eventually stop your breathing.

This is extremely dangerous, but can be treated if it’s caught quick enough: if you suspect someone has been poisoned with strychnine call 911 immediately!

Symptoms take 15-­60 minutes to start, but will come quicker if the drug is injected.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

  • agitation, restlessness, easily startled
  • painful muscle spasms
  • jaw tightness
  • stiffness of arms and legs

As symptoms worsen, also

  • uncontrollable arching of the back
  • inability to move jaw
  • trouble breathing
  • initial consciousness symptoms (like they just woke up a little confused)

In bad cases this is extremely painful, but the real danger is from not breathing. The person needs to get to a hospital immediately where they can have the chemical taken out of their system and be stabilized. Do not try to fix this outside of a hospital.

Your response should be similar to a normal overdose.

  • Get your friend on their side so saliva/vomit don’t obstruct breathing.
  • Call 911. Tell them the symptoms you’re seeing in the person. 
  • Administer rescue breathing if the person is not breathing well enough for them self. 911 will walk you through this.
  • They’ll be in a lot of pain and maybe also confused. Keep calm and explain that you’re getting help and the doctors will make it stop.

HOW TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE

  • Be around friends when you use.
  • Do a test shot or bump and wait to be sure.
  • Know your source.
  • Promote Awareness of Louisiana’s new (as of 2014) “911-Good Samaritan Law,” which provides legal immunity to the victim of overdose who seeks medical care. 

Keep reading

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Just wanted to share a few of these awesome portraits from the 10th Annual Harm Reduction Conference in Baltimore this past weekend. The conference is organized by the Harm Reduction Coalition & gathers drug users, social workers, activists, sex workers, researchers & medical professionals dedicated to improving the lives of drug users.

You can find more photos here & more information, including graphic recording posters from past conferences, here.

…[I]n a lot of addiction rhetoric, enabling is a dirty word akin to aiding and abetting addiction — conspiring with the enemy. It’s based on the creed that a person struggling with drugs has to “hit bottom” and suffer enormous loss and intolerable pain before they’re ready for help. Never mind that research actually contradicts the “hitting bottom” model; too many addiction counselors and self-styled experts still consider it an article of faith and warn us in dire terms against enabling. Does someone in your life have a drug problem, and you don’t want to cut them off, break up with them, fire them, kick them out? You’ll be accused of enabling them by interrupting their trajectory towards hitting bottom.

It’s a cruel philosophy that has caused immeasurable damage, both to people who use drugs and those who love them. Parents, partners and families seeking help and support have been taught the gospel of enabling, held responsible for their loved ones’ addictions, and blamed for their relapses. The taboo against enabling aims to strip away any and all forms of support, compassion, and aid for people who use drugs. Those who preach against the evils of enabling are deeply, almost sadistically, invested in seeing people who struggle with drugs isolated, and punished, as if they’d somehow be purified through suffering. No matter if that punishment takes the form of a fatal overdose — at least nobody enabled them.
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You can never have too much supplies.

This is my portable, on-the-go kit. I support harm reduction within the community by sharing as much supplies as I can with those in need. I restock this kit every day. I take it everywhere I go.

Top: BD U100 syringes [x12], sterile water [x17], sterile spoons [x4], and a stethoscope [for doctoring purposes 😉]

Bottom [left]: Vials [x3] [1/cottons, 1/drugs, 1 /empty], pipe + pipe case, torch lighter, BIC lighter, glass plate, scale, tissue paper, tourniquet [x4], capsules, baggies, elastic bands, using kit [scraping tools, sniffing straw, scissors, funnel], surface mirror

Bottom [right]: stericup [x5], sterile alcohol wipes, polysporin, bandaids, portable sharps disposal

Dangerous and racist Oregon sex work bill HB 4082 update

This bill already has 30 sponsors. It will probably pass. There may be a hearing on it as early as Monday.

If you want to be an accomplice to sex workers, a supporter of human rights, and someone who takes a stand against racial profiling and the criminalization of poor people and sex workers families and hell, social workers and grocery stores,
PLEASE if you can, come to the hearing to testify against it. I can give some Portlanders a ride to Salem to testify if you can get the morning or afternoon off, I’ll know soon when exactly it is.

This will cost people their freedom and it will cost some people their lives and it will not make a dent in any exploitation except police brutality.

We HAVE to get them to at least change the language of the bill. As it stands now, any social services providing harm reduction services to sex workers will also count as trafficking them. STROLL would become a trafficking org just by giving out HIV testing kits. This is devastating and completely unacceptable.
Please write to your reps, please write to rep Taylor, PLEASE testify, and please don’t let them get away with this.

vimeo

Safe Shooting 101

Here is a list of the things I used in this video:

- A new, sterile syringe (rig)

- A small pocket knife

- A q-tip (to make my cotton filter)

- A metal spoon

- Antiseptic spray (to disinfect the injection site)

- A lighter

- Toilet paper (to clean off blood/disinfect)

- Bottled water 

- A belt (used as tourniquet)

- Black tar heroin (of course)

If any of you have any questions, feel free to hit us up here on the Official Nod Squad inbox or in my personal ask box!

Much love and stay safe!

- garagedad

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New comic! (link)

One of the things I’ve gotten better at with respect to being a grown up (apparently) is trying to anticipate things that are going to be hard for me and plan ahead for them. But it doesn’t mean that those things aren’t going to suck. Putting on a coat doesn’t make it any less bitterly cold outside, and getting stitches doesn’t undo the injury. Sometimes it feels like I put a lot of effort into feeling shitty in a slightly less destructive way than I might otherwise. But, like I said, that’s adulting for you.

thepetitionsite.com
petition: Tell Oregon Not to Prevent Charities from Helping Sex Workers!

PLEASE sign and share. It alerts senators every time a new signature happens, especially important given they’re thinking of voting on this as soon as tomorrow.

Oregon’s HB 4082 would expand the definition of sex trafficking with overly broad, vague language, putting consensual, adult sex workers and those who help them or do any business at all with them at risk of prosecution and jail time.

If this bill passes, grocery stores accepting money from a sex worker and social services/outreach orgs that provide harm reduction services to sex workers (like my group STROLL, which provides free, home HIV test kits) would become “traffickers” in the eyes of the law!

Please sign my petition to urge Oregon to vote NO on this bill!

The bill would change the definition of sex trafficking such that any person who receives “money, goods, or services” that are “derived from a prostitution activity” are subject to prosecution.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Taylor, already passed a House committee and is moving quickly. Please sign the petition to urge Oregon to vote NO on this bill!

A slew of human rights orgs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Development Programme have recommended decriminalizing every aspect of adult consensual sex work. Why is Oregon stepping backwards? Sign the petition to fight back!