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Lectures

Radical Harm Reduction and the Responsibility of a World

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Addiction is exceedingly moralized. Perhaps no other concept associated with the experience of addiction reveals this more than that of responsibility. Too often, addiction is understood in terms of a lack or failure of personal responsibility; rehabilitation is understood in terms of instilling a sense of such responsibility; and, as this collection of essays attests, public health programs aimed at drug use …

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“Nothing About Us Without Us!” Really?: The Unequal Value of Lives in Harm Reduction NGOs

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Canada, like most capitalist societies of the global North, faces “an unprecedented and devastating wave of overdoses” and overdose deaths (Wells, 2017), intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic (Government of Canada, 2021). In the summer of 2017, activists including people who use drugs (PWUD), allies, and nurses in Ottawa responded to this wave of overdoses by establishing the city’s first unsanctioned …

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Criminalisation, harm reduction and responsibility in Polish drug policies

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In 2019, Sebastian Kaleta, a member of the Polish parliament associated with the ruling Law and Justice party, published a report denigrating Warsaw-based organisations working in the fields of LGBTQ+ rights and harm reduction. The report alleged that these non-governmental organisations and informal groups spend public money to de facto ‘affirm’ the use of psychoactive substances and ‘promote’ non-heteronormative sexual …

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Lectures

Fighting for injection in Paris

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Figure 1: Non-safe-injection site behind Paris’ Gare du Nord, February 2016 (all photos by author).

The first time I ever saw a person shooting up was right behind Paris’s Gare du Nord railway station in 2015. He was crouched in front of the low concrete wall in the picture (Figure 1). I had met André[1] when I volunteered at …

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