AUSTIN — Hundreds of individuals dedicated to providing services and advocating for policies that reduce the harms of drug misuse will converge in Austin for the 8th National Harm Reduction Conference at the Renaissance Austin Hotel from November 18-21.
Harm reduction is an international movement based on the principle that the harmful effects of licit and illicit drug misuse must be reduced rather than simply ignoring or condemning them. It includes a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use by advocating for syringe access programs to reduce HIV and overdose prevention strategies such as naloxone trainings and “Good Samaritan” laws that allow people to call 911 when witnessing an overdose.
The conference is hosted by the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. The Drug Policy Alliance is co-sponsoring this conference along with dozens of other organizations.
Conference speakers and attendees from a range of disciplines and backgrounds — including elected officials, law enforcement, harm reduction service providers, health care, drug treatment professionals, researchers and drug policy reform advocates from around the world — will address the need for overdose prevention trainings, syringe exchange programs and other harm reduction services in Texas and nationwide. One of the keynote speakers will be Sonja Sohn, star of HBO ‘s The Wire, who will be giving a presentation entitled, “From The Wire to Community Activism.”
The Drug Policy Alliance will release a report
at the Harm Reduction Conference that examines the overdose crisis in Texas. This conference comes at a time when Texans are dying from accidental overdose at increasing rates. Some of the findings in the report include: