Our mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to prevent chaotic drug use, drug-related injury, and overdose by teaching people how to communicate responsibly about drugs; how drugs work and why people use them; and how to manage the risks associated with drug use.
We believe that education is among the greatest sources of empowerment. People tend to make safer, healthier choices when they know how to do so and when those options are accessible. In addition to being guided by the principles of harm reduction, everything we do is rooted in the recognition that:
Abstinence is always the safest option, but not all people choose that option;
Not all drug use is abusive;
Addiction is a learned disorder, not a disease;
A person’s relationship with drugs begins when they first learn about drugs. Knowing about a drug's effects changes the potential risk factors, the degree of potential harm, and even the psychological experience of consuming the drug;
All people, especially young people, must have access to age-appropriate, reality-based drug education and harm reduction tools at every stage of their development;
People who abstain from substances should be just as informed and capable of reducing harm as drug users because they will likely live, work, learn, or love a person who uses drugs at some point;
Knowledge and support are more effective at promoting positive behavioral change than fear, shame, coercion, or punishment;
Stigmatizing language (such as junkie, crackhead, etc) causes harm. The American Journal of Medicine identified stigmatizing language as a significant barrier to improving health outcomes for people who use drugs. We use person-first language and encourage all our clients to incorporate this into their vocabulary as well.