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From Southern WV Harm Redux

We are fundraising for crucial harm reduction services in rural, southern West Virginia.

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In Fall of 2019 we launched Southern West Virginia Harm Redux – a collective hoping to bring harm reduction education, skills, supplies, and trainings, as well as basic first aid and wound care to the coalfields of Southern West Virginia. With big aspirations, we thought Boone, Logan, Mingo, McDowell, and Raleigh counties would be our reach. However, we have found that even with help from some larger and urban harm reduction collectives and some supplies to start with, we are lucky to scratch the surface of providing these services in only TWO of those counties. While some supplies are easy to get, others are harder to come by and inaccessibly priced. We are seeing more and more overdose deaths as fentanyl and carfentanyl gains prevalence in central Appalachia. We are also seeing more saves, even in rural West Virginia, community members are handing out Naloxone and safe-use kits, donating time to the labor it takes to run this collective, and taking care of each other when there is no one else to take care of us.

Our collective is a small group, mostly comprised of drug users or people in recovery themselves, and some community members who help run social media, make graphics, and hustle supplies. Not only do we supply these communities with the means to use drugs safely, we also provide basic first aid and wound care for a lot of people in these communities who are at-risk and either do not have transportation or cannot seek medical care due to stigma. We have been paying out of pocket for the gas to travel around Southern West Virginia, as well as the supplies we use in our first aid and wound care kits, printing costs, paper bags, and nice extras like candy, condoms, and lube to include in our kits. We hope to incorporate HIV-testing and some kind of rideshare program in 2020 to help community members get to doctor visits, especially for infectious disease treatment.

In the past couple of months we have been able to provide harm reduction access to a large number of people in the southern West Virginian coalfields who would otherwise be re-using needles and not have access to the life-saving drug we all know as Narcan. Please support us in expanding our work in 2020 to more southern West Virginian counties and to more drug users and at-risk people in central Appalachia. We do not take your support for granted and we promise that even with limited funding and capacity we are doing all we can to serve our communities and prevent unnecessary overdose death in these mountains we all know and love.

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