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

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?


Diary of a Hooker–I Found This Journal Entry From Years Ago About How Drug Use Surprisingly Helps Lonliness

I’ve kept personal journals since 4th grade and I am endlessly fascinated by my past thoughts. Yes, I’m self-centered, however, I think anyone with addiction questions can learn from my experiences, recorded in my honest, uncensored and unedited words from years ago–

Barriers to Sobriety No One Tells You About

Pursuing Your Addiction is a Surefire Way to Meet People
I thought I was lonlely and friendless bc of some internal flaw. Maybe. But maybe not. My
research shows that in today’s world we spend our time in meaningless sub-social (my word)
interactions mediated by a screen. Texting instead of calling. Facebooking people we will never
see again or never meet in the first place, instead of putting in face to face time with a reach-
out-and-touch human. Time wasted in meaningless chatter bc our souls feel lonely without
constant contact with someone or someones. You can have a close relationship if you talk on
the phone, and don’t see the person, but that is the maximum distance between two people if
they are to be considered in a relationship. Take the voice out of an interaction that is not face
to face and what we have is a bunch of pen pals.
Addiction’s Plus Side
If you want to get high you have to interact with people. If you are not independently wealthy
you will need a hustle. Theft. Prostitution. Drug dealing. There are sub categories. You could be
a shoplifter (colloquially called “booster”). Or an identity thief. Under prostitution you could work
the streets or make it your mission to be the dealer’s girlfriend. Drug dealing could be as big
time as you see in the movies or as small time as running the $10 baggie to the new customer
so if it’s really an undercover cop the low level person will catch the 10 year case for actually
handing the stuff to the officer.
Once your financing is in order, you either have to go to the dealer or find the person who
knows the person. From what I have seen from my personal level heroin use in Hawaii, the
bigger the dealer, the less likely he is to use the drug himself (though he might pull temporary
sex partners from the drug using population.) All the books on making friends suggest shared
hobbies as a springboard into relationships. Up the ante to shared obsession, and you’ve got
instant companionship and association. Not friendship, of course, bc addiction brings out the
cold hearted snake within the soul of every human. That primal, limbic brain is activated and
addicts will do whatever is necessary, making it is best not to let the necessary occur.
But hey, we’ve got each other–ain’t we got fun? This fun is something I seldom hear spoken
about when there’s talk about sobriety. What will I do with my time if I’m sober and who will I do
it with. If people can’t get drugs or sex out of me, will anyone want me at all? Will I want anyone
if interactions aren’t about using others? I get using and being used. That’s safe as a known
phenomenon. Relationships based onā€¦whatever they’re based on between people who love
each other, I’ve never had that and wouldn’t know how to begin. I’m lonely and don’t know how
to fix it bc my caustic wit isn’t reeling ’em in. I don’t know how to conclude this piece. I’ll just stop
writing now.