Advocates for drug policy reform are doing some admirable work at the state level to improve the health and dignity of people who use drugs. But things are rolling at the federal level too. The Harm Reduction Coalition discussed the issues they are working on.
Instead of creating laws that sound good but in reality cause more harm, we should encourage laws that provide incentives for people to do the right thing. Want drug users to clean up their used syringes? Protect them from charges if the syringes are stored in a safe container.
To quote an old social justice slogan, harm reduction is the art of "building a new society in the vacant lots of the old." And those lots are filling up, due to the hard work of people around the world.
It's hard to argue cost-savings and disease reduction to a moralistic audience, and in many parts of the country, it's no use even trying. For the time being, some states might want to consider alternative means to syringe access and disease reduction
Given the state's current political climate, it's unlikely Florida will change its drug paraphernalia laws any time soon, which means the residents of inner city Miami will need to continue to watch their step.
With more flexibility to use federal funds for evidence-based programs, including syringe exchange programs, local governments and agencies will be better equipped to combat HIV transmission in their communities.