“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.”
More than any other factor, community is what makes good harm reduction organizations great. Community can be defined as a social unit with shared norms, values, customs, or identity. In terms of harm reduction organizations, community can be divided into two primary spheres: internal and external.
The internal community of a harm reduction organization consists of all the people who work at, work for, donate to, or use the services. The external community consists of others in the larger home community of the SSP – especially those working with the communities served by the SSP. The external community also includes colleagues in state and national harm reduction, drug policy reform, or other related professional communities.
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.
Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation.