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“Committed to Public Health” Harm Reduction Action Center – Newsletter

July 29, 2015


“I got into harm reduction to enable people who use drugs. I enable them to protect themselves and their communities from HIV and hepatitis C and overdose. I enable them to feel like they have someone to talk to, someone who cares, someone who respects them and their humanity. I enable them to ask for help and to help others in turn. I enable them to find drug treatment and health care, to reconnect with their families, to rebuild their lives. And I enable people who use drugs to take personal responsibility for their health and their futures. If that makes me an enabler, I’m proud to claim that term” — Daniel Raymond.  He is the Policy Director at Harm Reduction Coalition (aka, the mothership).
It’s better to do it together.

One person looks like an idea, a group of us looks like a movement.
Looking to volunteer on our syringe access table?  Our last few trainings have been packed.  Register today for our Thursday, August 6th training from 1:00-3:00.  RSVP to We are now seeing over 70 participants per morning, we would love to have you join us.


International Overdose Awareness Day – Monday, August 31, 2015
 International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.  

Locally, we plan to provide Naloxone trainings and overdose education at the park at the northeast corner of Kalamath St. & Colfax Ave., in collaboration with physicians and pharmacists from Denver Health. We would love for you to join us to hand out overdose information and spread awareness! We will meet here at the HRAC and leave at 2:30 sharp to walk the 1-mile (about 20 min) to the park. Since parking is absolutely terrible around the area, we encourage you to meet here and join us for a stroll, but you are more than welcome to meet us at the park anytime between 3-5 pm

In the meantime, we are in the midst of an overdose epidemic. Armchair activism alert – Share our video within your social networks.  Talk about it. 

Need more harm reduction in your daily life?  Follow us on FB at our fan pageHarm Reduction Action Center or on Twitter at @HRAC_Denver
You are appreciated.  You, yes you.

If you read this newsletter you must have some sort of interest in the ol’ HRAC. We all receive tons of newsletters, so the fact that you opened this one means something, and a lot to us.  By simply reading this, you are a supporter (or perhaps a lurker?).  And we like you.  It’s so important to keep the larger community in-the-know about critical harm reduction work happening right here in Denver and beyond. So thank you.


We also want to give a HUGE shout out to our volunteers. They range from syringe access table volunteers to street outreach workers to board of directors to syringe cleaner-uppers to inmate outreach penpals. The list goes on.

Things you know as a volunteer: This thing doesn’t just run itself. Nobody’s too cute to clean. Sometimes Lisa deems certain days ‘broadway day’ and we must sing everything. Ruth regales us all with David Bowie stats, her love of him, and reruns of Labyrinth. The HRAC participants love you. And while the HRAC staff is dedicated (and super awesome), we could absolutely, positively, not do this work without the time and dedication of all of you. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!!!!

Don’t have the time to volunteer? When you donate, we are incredibly thankful. We receive kind and generous donations often, such as money (which we love and is perfect for syringes and Naloxone), coffee for our drop-in, plastic grocery bags to carry our supplies out the door, socks, leftover potluck food from the Governor’s office potlucks, hygiene (thanks to Lisa’s dad and many others), etc, etc, etc. And we couldn’t do this work without these donations. Are you our Bea?

June was our largest month of new people (EVER). We have firmly made it over the 1,000,000 mark for sterile syringes provided to our community. However, in the past 7 months we have spent $100,000 on only syringes and supplies. That is huge and unexpected for us.  Donations are always accepted and highly appreciated for our ever-growing program. 13 years as an agency … it is one hungry teenager.

Never donated or volunteered with us? No problem. We will harm reduction you until we get there. It’s kinda our thing. Challenge accepted. 

And don’t forget our upcoming event.  Tell your friends.  It’s fun to celebrate our successes together and let your harm reduction freak flag fly. 

Goodbyes & Hellos

By the next newsletter, our awesome staff member, Magalie Lerman, will be gone. We are sad to see her go, but we are excited for her at she moves on to a new adventure. Please see her letter to our participants below.

As I enter my final three weeks as a staff member at the HRAC I am reflecting on my time here with you all. I started volunteering here in April 2010. I had one month clean and wanted to give back to my community of drug users. Since that time I have learned so much from you guys. I learned how to meet you where you are at while doing mobile syringe access/outreach, I learned about the lack of access to substance abuse and viral hepatitis treatment for adults, and I’ve gotten to hear about all of your travels, trials, tribulations, celebrations, and successes. Since joining staff one year ago, I have increased my knowledge of safer shooting practices, formed stronger relationships with many of you, and have gotten a chance to share your voices with folks at the Capitol

Yesterday I accepted a job with the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) in Washington D.C. as the Drug User Health Fellow. Now, I have an opportunity to use everything that I have learned over the past 5 years here with you as I work to increase health outcomes for drug users nationally. This is a bittersweet transition for me because I am going to miss spending my mornings with you, getting high fives from you, seeing you on outreach, and talking shit about anything we damn well please. I want you all to know that I hold all of you in my heart; I could not be where I am at today without you. You have a badass team here at the HRAC who care deeply about you, you have a community of people who inject drugs to rely on, and you have value – even when you can’t see that you are changing someone’s world, you are. Thank you.


If you liked her work in our community, please thank her at…she will be missed by many.

Next month, our new AmeriCorps VISTA, Preston Murray, will introduce himself! 

Naloxone Update


Got Naloxone? If you want Naloxone, please go to one of these pharmacies near you … TODAY!

Scales’ Pharmacy 1999 Pennsylvania St. Denver, CO 80203 (303)974-5424
Good Day Pharmacies 1925 Mountain View Ave., Loungmont, CO 80501 (303)776-0709
  2033 N Boise Ave., Loveland, CO 80538 (970)669-7500
Flatirons Family Pharmacy 603 Ken Pratt Blvd, Longmont, CO 80501 (303)827-3480
CARES Pharmacy 4500 E 9th Ave #180, Denver, CO 80220 (303)321-0436
Mental Health Partners 1333 Iris Ave. Boulder, CO (303)413-6288
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