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Harm Reduction

As we work to quell the overdose crisis in Ohio, we affirm the dignity of people who use drugs — and reject any attempt to demean and marginalize our beloved neighbors.

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Every human being has innate dignity, and as children of God our collective well-being is intertwined. People who use drugs are beloved by God, but our society often reduces them to their drug use. As we work to quell the overdose crisis in Ohio, we affirm the dignity of all — and reject any attempt to demean and marginalize our beloved neighbors. ​

As Ohioans of faith, we commit to building authentic solidarity between people who use drugs and those who don’t. We commit to building healthier communities for everyone by embracing the principles of harm reduction in response to the systemic failure of the “war on drugs,” which is rooted in and perpetuates white supremacy. We commit to lifting people up when systems let them fall and intervening when systems would let people die. 

Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimise negative health, social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights – it focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support.

Definition from Harm Reduction International

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Blyth Barnow

Blyth Barnow (she/her) serves as the Harm Reduction Manager for Faith In Public Life Ohio. She is a preacher, harm reductionist, writer and community organizer. She is the founder of Femminary, an online ministry focused on reclaiming dignity by finding divinity in the profane. She is currently working to establish harm reduction resources for faith based communities and has already brought her worship service, Naloxone Saves, to several states. Naloxone Saves celebrates the power of resurrection by training people to recognize and respond to an opiate overdose. Blyth graduated from Pacific School of Religion where she received a Master of Divinity and the Paul Wesley Yinger preaching award.She was an Everyday Feminism Writing Fellow in 2016 and a Collective Safety fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 2018-2019.

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