How syringe access impacts racial justice

The Coalition for Syringe Access, of which AIDS United is a member, recently signed a statement of support of Black Lives Matter.

The coalition released this statement in order to highlight the need to strengthen harm reduction services that will allow the nation to move away from punitive approaches to substance use that are rooted in racist systems and policies. The statement outlines why the coalition supports Black Lives Matter and other racial justice efforts, and recognizes why racial justice matters in harm reduction efforts.

Specifically, the statement outlines the numerous ways communities of color, and specifically Black communities, have been disproportionately incarcerated and policed by punitive drug policies.

The Coalition for Syringe Access is a group that “supports the implementation of syringe access and other harm reduction programs as part of a comprehensive strategy to address the health of people who use drugs.” The services and screenings provided by those working with the coalition are essential for ending the HIV epidemic.

An excerpt from the statement:

“Harm reduction recognizes the profound damage that ill-informed and misguided policies at all levels can create, and we call for examination of and changes to policies that embed and empower white supremacy. This includes policies and practices within law enforcement and the criminal-legal system that unjustly and overwhelmingly criminalize Black life.”

The statement also cited the need for transformational justice within our legal system. The Coalition for Syringe Access additionally offers suggestions for harm reduction programs, community members, and even suggestions for organizations who support syringe exchange access financially or programmatically.

Read the full statement on the coalition’s website.