Wondering what happened at Australia’s first Harm Reduction Cafe?
The 20th of August 2013 marked the first ever Harm Reduction Café to be held in Australia.
I was lucky enough to attend the very first Harm Reduction Café, held in Liverpool in 2012. It was a great event that provided me with the opportunity to meet many of the people I had heard about and chatted with on social media.
The concept was developed by HIT and has been designed to foster a greater sense of connectedness in the Harm Reduction sector. In my experience it is also a great opportunity to network and share information. Since coming back to Australia I have really wanted to get a harm reduction café happening here, but until now competing priorities kept getting in the way.
The first Harm Reduction Café to be held in Australia was a small gathering in a pub in Brunswick (in Melbourne’s inner Northern suburbs) on the 20th August 2013. While the number of attendees were small, they more than made up for it, in terms of the far-ranging and informative discussions that took place. There was no format jus an opportunity to meet with others and talk about harm reduction.
Topics covered over the course of several hours included:
- Making naloxone more widely available to people at risk of opioid overdose
- Consumer participation
- Smartphone apps and their potential in harm reduction practice
- How ritual and injecting practice can reduce/exacerbate drug related harms
- The emergence of a widening range of research chemicals and how harm reduction workers can address the bewildering array of substances about which little solid knowledge has been gathered
- Social media practice in advocacy of harm reduction
Overall it was a fantastic night, with people sharing their experience and knowledge. I certainly learnt a lot from fellow attendees.
(Photography: Matt Gleeson and Paul Aiken)
Going into the future, I am planning to organise two more Harm Reduction Café events before the end of the year. I am looking to organise an event in Footscray and another in a rural city (either Ballarat or Bendigo). I welcome any input from people who might be interested in becoming involved (you can contact me via comments on this page or via email)
I would also encourage others that are interested in hosting their own harm reduction café to check out the HIT Harm Reduction Café website which provides support for the café concept via an online space where you can list your café event as well as providing promotional resources you can use to advertise your event.
I hope to see you at a Harm Reduction Café soon!