It’s that time again, New Year - a time for resolutions and changes. Like everybody else our clients’ resolutions tend to be focused on quitting bad habits. Which is of course something we can really encourage, helping them get the support they need to maintain change. But there are other things to bear in mind as well.
We need to stay up to date with harm reduction advice, and it's all well and good being up to date on an individual basis but what about the information we hand out? Are you still giving out that leaflet that was written 5-6 years ago? Of course you are.
We need to learn from the open source software movement, we need to share our advice freely.
Every drug worker asks the question “Have you shared injecting equipment?”. It helps us measure risk factors for issues like HepC, we need it for our stats (its one of the questions the National Treatment Agency insists we ask), and it has a lot of associated harm reduction advice.
But let's be honest the answer given is almost always “No” even though research says its often "Yes". So is there a better way of asking?
Do you trust the people you use with? It's a simple question really, but for a lot of people its a lot harder to answer that you'd think.
Every injecting relationship has to have a level of trust. After all in most cases all the people involved are breaking a law, sometimes many laws. Close relationships already have an existing amount of trust and social capital, but not every injecting relationship is considered a close one.
At a conference I was recently at there was lots of talk about peer supply of injecting equipment and it's clear that engaging networks of injecting drug users to help with self distribuition of equipment is a great way to increase the quantity of sterile equipment available. However for some people (it seemed mainly to be some service managers) the concept seemed full of problems. Hopefully this article might help with at least one of them.
Sex work can be a challenging line of business! First off, if you’re fortunate enough to make it through the barrage of opinion that tells you you’re in need of rescuing or rehabilitating, well done! Secondly, getting good risk reduction information in the face of punitive, contradictory laws can be really tough, however the purpose of this article is to provide a basic outline of helpful information geared at improving the general safety and well-being of (mostly) street based sex workers. Some of the information will be applicable to anyone working in the industry who is selling sex for money.
I spoke to someone recently who had had his freshly collected new injecting equipment taken off him during a stop and search by police, he wasn’t charged with anything, and he wasn’t given any paperwork. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this happening and it’s wrong.
In this article I want to cover why I think it’s wrong and what, if anything, people can do about it.