One of the things you hear before moving to New Hampshire is that, in many cases, the locals are as passionate about peaceful solutions to the world’s problems as the liberty activists are. I found this hard to believe until I actually moved here, but recent events reminded me just how true it is.
My father, Bill Davis, moved up here several months ago not as a part of the great freedom migration, but to be closer to his grand kids. You can imagine my surprise, then, when he came back from his new church excited about an opportunity to help local intravenous drug users via a strategy of harm reduction. I was even more surprised to learn that one of the people representing this organization was a former NHLA endorsed liberty representative to the State House!
The organization that came to my Dad’s church is called the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, and their plan is a simple one: to hit the streets of some areas known to be afflicted with the opioid crisis to try and help drug users do less harm to themselves. They planned to hand out fliers to interested parties about what to do in the event of an overdose, offer clean needles and filters for their drugs (many users apparently use cigarette filters instead of something cleaner), educate users about the proper use of Naloxone (AKA Narcan), and most of all, show people that they are worthy of care and attention in spite of whatever choices they might be making in their lives.
On Friday night their interesting crew – my dad, former drug users, nursing students, and a doctor went out into a Seacoast town and handed out flyers and fresh needles to several enthusiastic parties. At one point they interacted with a woman for a while before the police ultimately drove up to speak with her. My father said the police were very professional and helpful – curious about the NHHRC’s intentions and grateful once they found out.
One wonders if the NHHRC activists inspired the same attitude of harm reduction in the responding officers. Either way, all parties involved seemed to be thinking compassionately about the woman involved. Bill would tell me that he was very impressed by the attitude of these officers, and believes that they will have a fruitful relationship in this mutual effort of harm reduction going forward. The NHHRC plans to go out weekly to help these people who so desperately need it.
I reached out to Bill to make sure I didn’t screw up any of the details, and he offered a few more thoughts and insights.
“Important movements start with just a few people trying things, and while this is just in its early gestation, there is such a need for help in this area,” he said. “I really think this sort of help could be like a snowball rolling down hill – if enough people demonstrate real care for drug users, maybe they will finally get the help they need.”
“It can seem awkward and hard, but we didn’t meet any resistance. I think it means a lot to those afflicted with drug addiction to encounter people who don’t want to throw them in jail, or shame them, or tell them what to do. It means a lot to meet people who want to keep them healthy. I hope that being helpful and understanding might implicitly encourage them to take the next step and get the additional help they need.”
I’m very grateful to live in a place where there are so many activists, each tackling the issues that is important to him or her. And I’m very grateful to the NHHRC – thank you so much for showing this level of love to the unloved. I’m glad you’re out there helping one drug user at a time, and firmly believe the example you’re setting is the best chance we currently have in ending the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire once and for all.