Across Europe and North America, harm reduction initiatives have historically evolved out of grassroots and volunteer activist movements engaging in on-ground social work. Though the scientific research that supports the decriminalization of substances exists, bottom-up practices are still vital to the health of substance users. Public facing interventions, self-organization, and continual engagement with at-risk community members, harm reduction provide an engagement for social health. This social engagement not only helps facilitate the distribution of medical help but continues to promote and engage an enduring process of social work.
A transatlantic comparison between North American and European practices of harm reduction considers the social and political frameworks necessary for providing care to high-risk persons. How does the discussion of harm reduction change when talking about high-risk consumers under surveillance, and how is drug competency taught? What kinds of policies and discourses become salient within a harm reduction approach, and what kinds become silenced?
In this panel, the origins of harm reduction, emerging practices in dense urban areas, and the continual methods of engagement that maintain harm reduction as a medically-focused movement, a social service, and an ongoing pattern of safely practicing substance use will be discussed.
ABOUT THE NARCOTIC CITY EVENT SERIES AT 1014
This event is part of the Narcotic City Event Series at 1014 which explores the discourses, imaginaries, practices, and consequences of public drug use from the 1970s until the present with a focus on American and European cities. Across three evening roundtables, cultures of drug consumption are interwoven into public spaces, everyday lives, and public memories of cities, will be addressed, bringing together expert activists, scholars, and workers on public health, narcotic cultures, and archival politics from the US, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
During the evening events, 1014 will also present part of the Narcotic City Archive – the first interactive archive to collect and preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and governance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its launch in 2021, this innovative resource fosters knowledge, visibility, and engagement between researchers, activists, users, and a wider public.
Further information on the entire event series can be found here.