Public health programs are working to address drugs at the border — a wall won’t help

[*Originally published on January 31, 2019 by The Hill] In the center of the muddy courtyard beyond the plywood gate is a rusted-out car that three kids have turned into their playground. Outside, their mother and father meet with a pair of outreach workers. The man is an active heroin user; the woman hasn’t used …

Never mind the noise & lies calling for a border wall — Here are the daily actions saving lives along Mexico’s northern border

While President Trump & the White House made their political spectacle regarding the border wall, I was in Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, Mexico. I had been spending time with local, community groups who provide *harm reduction* based services & support for people who use drugs - especially people living on the street or in informal …

Portuguese & Russian language versions of “Police & Harm Reduction” now available

A quick post to share that my guidance document for law enforcement - "Police and Harm Reduction" - is now available for free download in both Russian and Portuguese in addition to English. A Spanish language version is coming soon. As a reminder as to what this guidance document is about: "In many cities around the …

On the sadness and disgust of unbridled, ugly, & entitled male rage, continued trauma, our broken system, & what it means for all of us.

I watched both hearings yesterday & while it is clear to me that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed not just for the credible allegation, but for his clear inability to not be partial, partisan, and vindictive, more than anything it has left me feeling...I don’t know what exactly. Some mix of gross, disgusted, and sad. ... But I just feel gross and sad. It was bearing witness to a naked ugliness, to the self-entitled rage of men, especially rich white men who refuse to be questioned. It was bearing witness to the visible pain, trauma, and terror that Dr Ford has carried for too long, the remarkable bravery and courage for her to speak out to save our country and rectify this wrong, however inadequately, and the reality that this vile, vile, man who is not entitled to and does not belong on the highest court with power over our daily lives for the rest of his natural life will nonetheless be appointed because patriarchy is still winning, because Republicans value “winning” more than principles and morals, and because most Democrats are incompetent, and because our system, marred as it is, is imploding. This is a sad, sad day.

A public health approach to policing

“We have a choice: do we want to be a repressive or supportive service? We recognize all people are equal before the law & must be treated as such & those most affected must lead solutions.” - Asst Commissioner of Amsterdam @Politie addressing police from around world #AIDS2018 On the last day of the 2018 International AIDS Conference held in Amsterdam, I was lucky to join 25 police and civil society leaders from several countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia on a visit and meeting with the Amsterdam police branch of the Dutch National Police. The meeting was held at the Amsterdam police headquarters. The focus was on what it means to embrace a public health approach to policing. Is this possible? What does it mean for police and society?

Marielle Franco Has Not Been Silenced

*Originally published by OSF Voices on March 20, 2018. On March 14, 2018, in the center of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, two gunmen in a car murdered Municipal Chamber Councilor Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Unlike most of the city’s political leaders, Marielle came from Rio’s favelas. And many of the favelas’ millions of marginalized …

Thanks ¡Pacifista! for including me in this list: “Follow those who really know about coca & drugs”

At the start of this year, Colombian news outlet ¡Pacifista! put together a list of 21 people to follow on Twitter to break through the lies and fake news related to drug & coca policy and the drug war in Colombia and internationally. Much to my surprise, my name & bad Twitter photo are included (down at the bottom, rightfully, under 'outsiders' header). Thanks ¡Pacifista! and be sure to follow the 20 other people first!

Moving toward a closed society, not a safer society: our unspoken response to mass shootings in America

The claim that "nothing happens" after mass shootings in America is false. What happens, time and time again, is more securitization, militarization, and surveillance of the sites where the shootings took place: clubs, universities, elementary schools, and now hotels. Meanwhile, we fail to address the one common feature among all these incidents: access to and …

Why Declaring ‘War’ on Mexican Drug Cartels Is a Bad Idea

A recent proposal for US Congress to “declare war” on Mexican cartels in order to curb the growing number of fatal opiate overdoses of Americans is incendiary and dangerous. Not only would it be ineffective in countering cartels or reducing fatal overdoses in the U.S.; it would lead to lead to the murders of thousands more Mexican civilians, not to mention endanger the lives of American soldiers.