Building a healthy Arizona with people who use drugs
Sonoran Prevention Works was founded by and for people who use drugs. We started with a singular focus: everyone should have access to the knowledge, tools, and community they need to be safe and healthy. Today we’re committed to making that a reality at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels through street-based outreach, organizational capacity building, and state-wide advocacy work.
Overdose reversals reported (2017-2022)
Participants enrolled in peer support
HIV & HCV tests conducted
Individuals trained in overdose prevention
The story of harm reduction in Arizona
Co-founders create Phoenix Harm Reduction Organization (which would become Sonoran Prevention Works and Shot In The Dark)
Co-founders regularly share syringes
Overdose deaths were on the rise but Arizona still banned naloxone distribution for laypeople. With the support of other programs around the country, we began underground naloxone distribution.
Phoenix Harm Reduction Organization begins bicycle-based syringe delivery & advocacy efforts at First Friday
Following the legalization of naloxone, SPW creates a statewide Overdose Education & Naloxone Distribution network to rapidly train individuals on overdose prevention and expand access to naloxone across Arizona.
Arizona becomes the 48th state to pass a Naloxone access bill following advocacy efforts by Sonoran Prevention Works, Addiction Haven, and hundreds of individuals. The new bill allows community members to possess and administer the medication through a standing order.
SPW creates the Harm Reduction Outreach Program to provide peer support and testing services in Maricopa, Yuma, Pima, Gila, and Yavapai counties
While syringe exchange and naloxone access was growing in Maricopa county, rural parts of Arizona were still lacking support. In 2018 SPW supports the launch of the first syringe service program in Northwest Arizona – the Kingman Harm Reduction Program.
After several years of advocacy, SPW Advocates get syringe service programs & fentanyl test strips legalized. This paves the way for more programs to open and expand access to life-saving supplies and support.
An Arizona where justice, autonomy, & wellbeing are guaranteed for people who use drugs
How we work
The core of our work is to support individual people through overdose education, naloxone and supply distribution, HIV and hepatitis C testing, and our harm reduction outreach program.
We help Arizona organizations operationalize harm reduction programming with resources, consultations, and trainings on topic areas such as HIV, social determinants of health, integrating harm reduction in diverse settings, and more.
We work at the local and state levels to change policies and regulations that impact people who use drugs and their communities. We also conduct research to articulate their experiences so their voices can be heard by legislators.
Nothing about us without us
We know that individual changes pave the way for larger system-level transformation. Every person who carries naloxone, every new syringe, every HIV test contributes to an Arizona where people who use drugs can thrive.
Systemic oppression prevents everyone from having the same opportunities for success. We work towards liberation for us all by ensuring marginalized folks are represented in all levels of our work: our team, our outreach efforts, and our partnerships.
On our own, we know a little, together we know a lot. By sharing our experiences and strengths, we increase our collective knowledge, capacity, and impact.
People Who Use Drugs Centered
SPW started because people who use drugs wanted to make a healthier Arizona for our loved ones. Today, we honor that by ensuring people who use drugs inform everything from our outreach, to our advocacy, to our internal hiring practices. Nothing about us without us.