HARM REDUCTION FOR THE 21st CENTURY

For those who can't afford free speech

By Alex Zielinski, Staff Writer

On Nov. 15, the Harm Reduction Coalition’s national conference came to Portland for the first time. Covering topics from political shifts in drug treatment to overcoming drug user stigma, the conference touched on a variety of issues related to national drug use. To get a better grasp on the breadth of harm reduction and its current role in the local and national spheres, Street Roots spoke with Allan Clear, who has been the director of HRC since 1995.

Alex Zielinski: Can you define harm reduction? It seems to encompass a wide variety of areas, from health care to legal policy.

Allan Clear: Harm reduction, or at least what we’ve done with it, is looking not at drug prevention or treatment, but focusing on people who are currently dealing with drug-related effects.

A.Z.: How does Portland play into harm reduction practices from a national perspective?

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