Let's start with the positives. Overdose deaths have fallen for six months in a row. I know the Trump Administration wants to take credit for this number but I suspect the record will show this is linked to a combination of factors: The rise of fentanyl test strips, the expansion of MAT, the diligent efforts of outreach workers, overall awareness of overdose, and the expansion of access to naloxone. Regardless of any short term decreases, these numbers are still in the tens of thousands. In addition, deaths related to stimulants are creeping up to 10,000 people per year. In other words, much more work needs to be done. Work we can all do together.
Secondly, mail based Harm reduction services have officially been approved in New York State with more on the way. Please visit my partner project Next Distro here. In 2019, I am going to pour all my personal and professional resources into expanding mail based Harm Reduction.
Naloxone access has expanded all over the US. There are programs springing up in unexpected locations such as Iowa and Arkansas and Florida and any place radical folks decide to set up shop. In 2016, I predicted that Harm Reduction efforts would have to expand both above ground and below ground. I am extremely pleased with the results.
There is a ground swell of support for Harm Reduction. I recently was in New Orleans where 2000 folks came together to share best practices. It was rad to see how far we have come as a community.
in 2018, we lost Dan Bigg, one of my personal heroes. Too many of us are still dying.
In 2018, sex workers continue to suffer as a result of SESTA/FOSTA.
In 2018, the 12 step community continues to stigmatize people on MAT.
In 2018, methadone continues to be treated as if it is not "recovery".
In 2018, people are being sent to shitty rehabs where they detox, leave, OD and die.
In 2018, there is still limited accountability in both the sober living and rehab industry.
Personally, I saw a stark difference in the crowds at my presentations across the US. The messages I promote have been well received from even very conservative audiences. Everyone seems to be in agreement that SOMETHING has to change. The details of what and how are in dispute. I also have personally enjoyed some of the protests of https://www.sacklerpain.org/ I absolutely think pain patients have been fucked in this whole national opioid strategy AND I believe fuck the system that created many of these issues for those not in chronic pain.
I have been spending a bunch of time with my children lately. They are rad little people.
I love you. XOXO Tracey.