Well this is my 100th blog post. It’s taken just under 2 years and since starting in October 2010, the site has received over 12,000 page visits. By my reckoning I have written the equivalent to half a PhD (in quantity, I’m not going to claim the quality)!
I write primarily about technology, harm reduction and how we can use technology to address the stigma and other harms that drug users experience. There have been a number of other blogs, websites and most importantly, people who have inspired me along the way. I thought it was fitting then to have a look at some of the great blogs and websites that address the harms associated with alcohol and other drugs in our society.
Terry Wright retired the magnificent blog, The Australian Heroin Diaries in August 2011. Terry had been writing the blog since 2007, providing an alternative perspective to the dominant dialogue regarding alcohol and other drug issues in Australia. He was truly one of the pioneers in the Australian context of using our newly found access to the means of media production to advance the fight against laws and policies that marginalised and otherwise harmed people who use drugs in Australia. What might be the scariest prospect in examining the volumes of writing he produced over the four years is that much of what he wrote is unfortunately still very much relevant today.
Anybody who follows me on Twitter or is regular reader of this blog will already know that I hold @injectingadvice in the highest esteem. The Injecting Advice website is written by U.K. Harm Reduction Worker Nigel Brunsdon, a very creative fellow who has never hesitated to share his skills and knowledge with myself and others. Like Terry Wright in Australia, Nigel is one of the pioneers in this area, having operated the site for over 5 years. The Injecting Advice website contains reams of information addressing a wide range of issues pertinent to good harm reduction practice. Along with the training resources, podcasts and articles that Nigel has produced, the site also includes articles published on the behalf of a number of guest writers (including yours, truly).
Dr Monica Barrett PhD (sorry couldn’t help my self Monica), writes the fantastic blog Drugs, Internet, Society. Focussing primarily on the intersection between technology and drugs, the blog is very much written from Monica’s experiences as an academic who has devoted much of her studies to drug policy, emerging drugs, and the effect that new technologies have had on drug markets and drug policy. Monica has also been one of the very few people in my online social networks who I have actually had the pleasure to meet in person!
Not really a blog, but inspiring nonetheless, the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) time and time again demonstrate a willingness to share their resources. The AIVL website that is overflowing with resources, reports and publications. They have not shied away from seeking ways to use their web presence creatively to provide information and supports to people who use drugs, including:
- Our C-Ciety – A social network for people who are considering, currently undertaking or who have completed treatment of Hepatitis C
- NSP Directory and Legal Guide – A great guide providing a directory of NSP services in Australia as well as important legal information relevant to drug users
- Interactive Vein Care Guide – Providing important information to injecting drug users about how to maintain health veins, complete with handy animations.
A relative new comer to the drugs blogging scene, @devlblog based in the UK has already demonstrated a consummate skill in dissecting media coverage and drug policies with an eye for evidence and rational non moralistic approaches to drug policy. @devlblog writes in an accessible style about often complex issues.
So why make about a big deal about these people? By writing about harm reduction online, they have all contributed to other’s life long learning. They have given voice to perspectives and information that has all too often been ignored by mainstream media. They have explored and experimented, seeking new ways to get vital information to the right people. Their endeavours, (often undertaken at a cost of their own time and coin) are to be celebrated by all who support harm reduction.
What next for Stonetree?
Well as always I have way too many ideas and not enough time, however there are definitely some exciting events on the horizon, including a two week visit to the UK in September to attend the Hot Topics Conference. I will also be taking the opportunity to finally meet some of the people who have helped inform, inspire and encourage the Stonetree blog.