Annual Report 2021
Our mission is
We embrace harm reduction principles
Harm reduction is a social justice movement built on the recognition that people who use drugs are the experts of their own lives;
that stages of substance use are not linear;
and that the preventable health inequities faced by PWUD are driven by oppressive systems and are felt more greatly by PWUD with intersecting marginalized identities.
Our programmatic strategy
Our impact in 2021
Volunteer of the year
We reach folks across the state
Rural areas experience inequitable access to a variety or resources and services. That, compounded by different cultural stigmas, has left them hardest hit by the overdose crisis. We believe PWUD deserve life-saving and life-affirming care no matter where they live, which is why we developed community-specific programming to serve southern and rural counties.
In Cochise, Graham, and Santa Cruz counties we:
When COVID hit in 2020, reaching people where they’re at took on a whole new meaning. Many folks could no longer come to our office, pop up sites, or events to pick up safe use supplies.
We turned this challenge into an opportunity by developing the Harm Reduction By Mail (HRBM) program. The system we created helped us reach into new corners of the state & help keep people even safer.
Our successes in the first 9 months:
We believe in better systems and create them
Up until 2021, operating a syringe services program was a felony. Although that didn’t stop us and a few other public health subversives, it did prohibit widescale implementation of SSPs and created major barriers to participation
Our founders advocated since 2011 for legalization of SSPs, and in 2018 we wrote a bill that would be introduced at the AZ legislature four years in a row. After hundreds of hours of our supporters’ calling, emailing, and showing up to their elected officials’ offices, 2021 was the year it passed.
To sweeten the deal, we were also able to get fentanyl test strips legalized, which – until now – carried a felony charge to distribute or possess.
But we’re nowhere near done.
Although we’re taking some time to celebrate our wins, we’ve got our eye on issues like
which we know will take years to get them where we want them.
By building relationships with policymakers and public health experts, we’re able to create coalitions that transcend politics and tangibly improve systems for PWUD.
Stick around and help us make lasting change.
Remembering the many we have loved and lost to the war on drugs
On August 31, 2021, SPW hosted two events in Tucson and Phoenix for International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD). Between 80-90 people came together in public parks to celebrate the lives of those we have lost to overdose and to grieve in community. We built communal altars, ate together, shared our stories, and read the names of those we have lost.
These events fight against the stigma and isolation that surrounds drug use and overdose. They create space for people to connect in community, celebrate the fullness and beauty of the loved ones we have lost, and strengthen our commitment to the work of ending overdose deaths and stigma.
We welcome everyone who has been impacted by this loss to join us every IOAD, and in our ongoing work to dismantle the systems that perpetuate this injustice, take the lives and livelihoods of our loved ones, and do immesuarable harm to our communities at large.
Revenue - $2,904,059
Expenses - $3,553,062
We can't do it without your help.
2021 was the deadliest year on record for overdoses. While we know that our naloxone distribution last year saved over 6,000 lives, we can’t solve this problem alone.
As the War on Drugs continues to rage and evolve, so too must our response.
Time, input, and contributions from our community members help ensure we can change systems from the bottom up to keep each other safe and free.
Please consider signing up to become a monthly donor or a volunteer. With your support, we can build an Arizona where health & safety are guaranteed.