Harm Reduction in Rural Colorado
The mission of High Rockies Harm Reduction (HRHR) is to reduce the rates of overdose deaths, new HIV and Hepatitis C diagnoses and the economic costs of the opioid epidemic in rural Colorado by expanding access to harm reduction services.
Our current goal is to open a Syringe Services Program and Recovery Community Center in Carbondale, Colorado.
HRHR seeks to strengthen the recovery community and reduce the stigma of substance use, recovery and behavioral health needs through compassionate, nonjudgmental, peer-based support.
We seek to empower the recovery community by promoting the autonomy, respect and dignity of all members of our society.
Success for our organization looks like 0 overdose deaths, 0 new HIV and Hepatitis C cases, more HIV and Hepatitis C testing and treatment access, more behavioral health access, fewer DUIs, fewer drunk driving accidents, fewer suicides and reduced stigma of people who use substance in our service area of the Roaring Fork, North Fork, Crystal and Grand Valleys.
While we firmly believe that we can get to 0, success also looks like declines in these statistics in the Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and segments of Delta and Gunnison County.
One of HRHR’s many underlying goals is to reduce health and economic inequities by engaging with at-risk and underserved populations (e.g., Latinx, LGBTQ+, houseless, low-income and substance using individuals) and providing peer-based support that will help them access and navigate necessary services as well as build autonomy and an understanding of individual rights and responsibilities.
HRHR seeks to provide compassionate, trauma-informed, client-centered services to individuals in recovery and active substance use, with the goal of promoting autonomy and the empowerment of individuals to take control of their own lives and achieve the best possible quality of life.
As a harm reduction agency, our approach utilizes the basic principles and values of harm reduction, including:
•The acceptance of the reality of drug use and a desire to minimize its harmful effects rather than ignore them.
•Understanding drug use as a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a variety of behaviors, from complete abstinence to severe use, and the acknowledgement that some ways of using drugs are safer than others.
•Establishing the quality of individual and community well-being (not necessarily the complete cessation of all drug use) as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
•Non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs (PWUD) and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
•We wish to ensure that PWUD and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
•We believe in affirming PWUD themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use and seeking to empower PWUD to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
•We recognize that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
•We do not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger that can be associated with illicit drug use.
HRHR seeks to expand access to services related to the three pillars of harm reduction in regard to opioid use disorder:
•Access to Naloxone
•Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
•Syringe Access Services
For more about Harm Reduction, please visit https://www.harmreduction.org
High Rockies Harm Reduction is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center