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Harm Reduction in Honolulu

Honolulu community outreach workers give advice to avoid celeb-style overdoses. See link

Michael K. Williams died of accidental overdose that included fentanyl, cocaine https://www.newsbreakapp.com/n/0c7BtMBR?&share_destination_id=MTU5ODM3MDA2LTE2MzI2MDQwNjgzNDQ=&s=a99&pd=0AoeuE7z&hl=en_US

In Honolulu “Harm Reduction” is the controversial policy


Harm Reduction concedes the impossibility of harm prevention

According to my inexpert understanding, “Harm Reduction” is a policy based upon the theory that people are going to do what they want no matter the danger, no matter the educational efforts, no matter how bad it is for them. No one knows why people do things they know will hurt them–why do we start in the first place and why don’t we stop? Even if we do stop why is it so very difficult? What we know is people engage in behavior that is pleasurable but risky, as d when continued changes from merely pleasurable to compulsive and destructive. We cannot stop people. Therefore society might as well help them do what they do safely bc bad outcomes in one segment of society will effect everyone. One controversial point is: harm Reduction is not the same as encouraging people to do something, but accepting the inevitable reality of free will being the most important factor in behavior. What does this policy look like in action?

It means teaching teens how to obtain birth control bc no matter what anyone says they will not all be abstinent until marriage (is anyone?).

Honolulu Harm Reduction

In Honolulu Harm Reduction means stationing outreach workers in a van downtown on most weekdays for the purposes of exchanging, but NOT, distributing clean needles to iv drug users, giving away free condoms, passing out informational pamphlets, etc…. Everyone thought diseases like AIDS would stay confined to the population that did things society opposes–promiscuous gay sex, shooting dope, prostitution. But AIDS did not only target the “bad” people. It turned out, to everyone’s genuine surprise, that people do t necessarily have complete double lives. Sometimes they just dabble in something. They step into the scene then step out, real quick, so they are barely there. They are not full time gay, they are men, who now and again, pick up a transgender sex worker. No one would ever guess that the forbidden thing that almost never happens is actually the norm. Hence, diseases that are spread by doing something, whether it is once or as a lifestyle, these diseases travel from “them” to “us.” We don’t care about them–let the addicts kill themselves. But we care about ourselves, and it turns out we have addicts in our midst, or we engage with addicts working the street now and then. Disease outed people more than any shift in society’s attitude could have.

No one would ever guess that the forbidden thing that almost no one sees going on is actually the norm. Plenty of publicly “normal” people do the “abnormal” just a little , privately. I write this blog to show people they are not alone.

Caroleena’s purpose for the blog as it relates to harm Reduction.

People Use drugs alone–and die

Because if the stigma attached to using drugs, people do it in secret. If they overdose these us no one there to help them. They die needlessly. Articles about celeb drug overdoses, like the one linked to this post, do not say if the person was aline but they must have been bc there is always a mystery about why they were found dead. Later, the truth, or what we are told us true, us revealed. In Honolulu outreach workers have a stated goal if getting the anti overdose drug to as many people as possible, users or not. If anyone happens upon a scene where someone has collapsed and us not breathing, a good Samaritan can administer the drug as a nasal spray and simply save a life. Certainly the people hanging out with users can do the same.

Don’t use drugs alone.

Honolulu Community Outreach workers

The controversial summary: people will use drugs no matter what. Surprisingly, everyone is affected because disease does not stay within a boundary. What’s more, you might think you don’t know anyone who goes to sex workers (fir one example). Little do you know, you are probably wring, many times over. Caring about “them” means caring about ourselves.

Do I believe all if this? Would I say, rapists are going to rape anyway. We might as well help them pack a quality rape kit (the name of the supplies assailants carry with them) so that the plastic ties are not too abrasive to the skin of the person bound and gagged. What about giving burglars gloves to keep them from being cut when they break glass to force their way into a house or car? Are these extreme examples very different from giving condoms to middle schoolers? We could not do this bc harm prevention us, kind if, saying, we approve, albeit reluctantly. We would not give the arsonists fire proof gear so he can escape unburned. Would we? There are no easy answers, except one: Harm Reduction really does reduce harm.

Do we want that?

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COVID-19 and AIDS–Different Public Faces

A 30 day travel ban on flights from Europe to the United States. I think a temporary hiatus is in order, mostly bc I’m totally unqualified to design effective safety measures. What’s more, in new situations the only thing s person can do is learn from mistakes and that’s tough when a mistake could be deadly.

Yes, This Atmosphere is Different Than the Climate During the Early Days of AIDS, The Unmentionable

We should compile good data to analyze the effectiveness of the travel ban. What President Trump said about us having the best economy, health care, doctors and scientists–well, those factors don’t necessarily stop the spread of disease. But what else can we cling to?

President Trump vs. President Reagan

When the public was made aware of AIDS no one was trying to learn more. President Reagan never spoke the word AIDS in 8 years. Young people have doubted me but I speak truth. AIDS was the unmentionable. Certainly I didn’t think a virus that hit gay men had anything to do with my world. Even the so-called innocent victims of blood transfusions had nothing to do with healthy me. IV drug use? I would not so much as see an illegal drug for years to come. Not in my world. Keep in mind, we weren’t very sure how the virus was spread, but by and large This is really different.

It Could Happen to Me, But I’m Changing–Permanently

A bit of the germophobe mentality must be adopted. Germophobe Naomi Campbell went through LAX in a hazmat suit. That’s a bit much. Handwashing with commitment. Disinfecting my area before and after occupancy. Traveling with disinfecting wipes. These things I can do forever.

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HIV Negative–the good old days begin today

I took an HIV test yesterday like every responsible citizen should. No matter how much I complained about my life, I knew that if the HIV test I took had been positive, this time of life that is so troubling to me, would seem like the good old days when everything was alright. My life would have been divided into before and after. I think there is no more positive use for the word “negative” than when it is juxtaposed with those powerful three letters. HIV NEGATIVE–Yes!! Now let’s make something of this life.