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?

Embarrassing secrets Self Analysis

Prison in Hawaii Showed me the real me in how I coped

I was in prison in Honolulu, Hawaii during the early years if the 21st century. Life behind bars challenges you because you have no stress. Stress can be a good thing when it is in the form of challenges you have the power to conquer. Stress is harmful when you are powerless to control your situation. Of course, you are powerless to free yourself, that is the big picture. Our lives are full when we have lots of “small picture” challenges. We have no obstacles In prison. All of our basic physical needs were met in a no frills fashion. There is nothing we have to do to survive. There’s just a vast nothingness between the present and our release date. Boredom due to the lack of stimulation is soul crushing. Imagine being stuck at the first level of a video game forever. We move on to the next level BC we want to introduce moderate stressors into our environment. In prison we could spend all day staring into space and we will still be fed, sheltered, clothed. Little was required of us inmates in Honolulu’s only prison facility for women. Prison is for people who have been sentenced to over a year incarceration for their crime (s), whereas jail is at the county level, or island level if you are in the Hawaiian archipelago. Each island has a jail for both men and women. Jail is for people who are sentenced to less than a year, along with people who are legally innocent but cannot make bail. Prison is place where people stay awhile and have to figure out how to deal with what cannot be changed. Unlike other prisons, no one at the island of Oahu’s women’s prison, the Women’s Community Correctional Center (pronounced Double U triple C) was required to work or take the very few classes the prison offered. Little was required beyond standing for headcount nine times a day. When you are overwhelmed with stuff to do as a free person, you imagine how nice it would be not to be stressed out all the time. In reality, when you get to the place where there is nothing to do, you could slit your wrists from desperate boredom. If we women were to have any stimulation we had to make our own fun. When I was in prison for 20 months I reminded myself that “bored people are boring.” I created writing projects by interviewing the other women about the circumstances that brought them to be with me in prison. I offered my services as an educated woman and former middle school teacher by teaching GED classes. I helped the other women with their paperwork/grievances and did not ask them to give me a portion of their commissary. I re-read some classics, and found new faves. I reinforced my love for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and discovered “Gone With the Wind.” Both books were so great I experienced a bit of mourning when I finished them.

Prison in paradise hides a woman from the world but it reveals her to herself. Expert escort 2018 dot com slash prison

Another copng strategy was to constantly look for any injustice committed by staff, or mistake on their part. I pounced on the misdeed with written grievances and once, a lawsuit, determined to right the wrong for myself and the women who would come after me. The corrupt prison system provided me with endless battles to wage. I had a reason to get out if my bunk, leaving the hard plastic mattress-type pallet behind for a spot at a stainless steel table and stool. The weapons of my warfare were scattered around me on the table top—law books, paper, pencils. The familiar items gave me comfort.

I wanted to improve conditions. This motivation was genuine, but it was only part of what drove me.

I was bored.

Moreover, I was ashamed of wasting the education that college classmates said I only received BC of affirmative action. I hated myself for proving that every resource it took to allow me to earn my prestigious degree were resources best used on someone else. I was desperate to demonstrate that I had belonged at Harvard, no matter how grim my present circumstances. I called myself an inmate advocate to show a world that was not paying attention, that I could still use the gifts other black people had died to give me. Besides I had a mean streak a mile wide that I liked to express. I became a bully the only way a friendless nerd can—the mighty pen. My personality was an odd mixture of bitterness, negativity, a tendency to complain without ceasing and a heart to help anyone who needed assistance without losing patience and without mentioning what I had done for them. I never understood the mystery of how to get along with others and I am sure people would be surprised to know as disagreeable as I was a lit of the time, I pined for friends. Perhaps my good qualities kept me from making enemies but they were not strong enough to outweigh my unfavorable traits. I was as alone as I had always been, be it Harvard or handcuffed. People did not seem to hate me or love me. Even in prison I was forgotten by my peers and clung to my novels as I had in middle and high school. My life in prison was defined by anger, boredom, and obsessive focus on solitary projects of my creation, especially writing and exercise. Other women occupied themselves with new same-sex relationships. (I never had a girlfriend. Maybe lesbians also found me unattractive. I am not gay but the occasional flirtation would have broken up the monotony!) My coping methods to deal with life behind bars looked different from my fellow inmates but underlying my incarceration-activities-of-daily-living were the same pain, shame and isolation from which everyone suffered.