Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.


Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions

A group of us are meeting Thursday evenings and writing together. It’s a balm to the soul, a relief in a time of hopelessness. See more about these sessions here! Join us if you are, or ever have been, part of the Literary Kitchen. (Or if you are a friend and can respect the agreements.)

Prompt: Duty calls – eight minutes

Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.I have a job that makes people literally want to kill me. They imagine me as a drug dealing enabler. I work in harm reduction. I’m the ED (executive director) of a harm reduction agency in a rural town in northern california. 

What I am coming to know is that every job feels somewhat like war. Is it just every job I’m drawn to? Because honestly, I would rather be in a job bound by duty than one motivated only by money. By survival. 

But the fucked up thing about capitalism is that each job literally is motivated by survival. 

I lived the first number of years outside the system, doing what I “wanted” to make money. Writing and teaching and coaching. But even that became a yoke, even my highest duty became an albatross. 

Capitalism is rotten to the core. 

I like to think that this field, harm reduction, is abolitionist; in even the most idealized world I can imagine, harm reduction still has its place. I am working in a field that is of benefit. And I love the battle parts of it. The activism parts. 

If only money were not the motivation, and time were not the grandmaster. 

I don’t think people were designed to specialize. To do one thing for hours at a time. I think we were designed to hunt and peck, to hunt and gather. 

In the most idealized world I can think of, no one has to work eight hours a day or more in order to survive. And for most, eight hours worth of pay is not ample. So we glamorize “busy.” We make friends with the side-hustle. 

I have been in school for five years, working toward my MSW. I am at the precipice. For the first time in my life, coaching and writing, of course, included, I am about to maybe not need a side-hustle. 

And I’m scared. Duty is my identity. Busy is my ballast. I joke that being an overachiever is my trauma response, only it’s not a joke. We are bound to this hustle, for survival. 


See more about Wayward Writer Write/Share Zoom session sessions here

Lasara Firefox Allen looking nonplussed after a long meeting.

HACHR Executive Director’s Statement, Eureka City Council,

Lasara Firefox Allen looking nonplussed after a long meeting.Esteemed colleagues,

First, I want to thank you all for doing what you can to address the situation of a lack of harm reduction services in Eureka, which came into effect due to past actions on the part of the city council. We appreciate that you are trying to make the situation better. 

However, a bad amendment is not going to serve our community. This amendment was written with no consultation with HACHR, CDPH, or any other harm reduction specialists. It seems misguided to me to put into effect an amendment that will not serve the population in question, and will unduly affect operations for HACHR and any other SEP that hopes to operate within the city of Eureka. It will not effectively prevent transmission of bloodborne pathogens, and it is a dangerous setting of precedence. 

I also want to clear up a few points; first I wish to clarify that all HACHR employees are trained in de-escalation and safe syringe clean-up protocols. This being the case, having two extra staff ride along for outreach is redundant. Further, writing staffing requirements into the amendment is an overreach by the city. 

Just like the county SEP through NorCAP, our outreach team is expected to address any rare conflict that arises from a de-escalation frame, and they are also already charged with retrieving any syringe litter that is present at exchange sites.

The requirement of such a robust outreach team is seemingly based in the fantastical idea that syringe services are dangerous. Quite the contrary; our population is grateful for the support they receive from SEPs. Further, we attempt to create an environment of mutual respect, and basic recognition of program participants’ humanity. We offer our participants access to Medication-Assisted Treatment through Bright Heart Health, overdose prevention medication and training, HIV and Hepatitis C testing onsite at our 3rd Street location, and linkage to care and treatment. We offer wound care kits, hygiene kits, food, warm clothes and blankets, and many other basic needs. All of this in addition to the safer-use equipment that is currently banned within city limits. 

Perhaps most importantly, though, we offer our program participants a place where they are loved and accepted exactly as they are. Our staff knows our population to be worthy of love, care, and basic respect without any requirement for change. 

In the time since the ban went into effect, we have seen a precipitous drop in traffic at our 3rd Street location. Jasmine, our SSP coordinator, is speaking after me and will talk more about the numbers, and share some first-person testimonials about the impact of the lack of services. Suffice it to say, without the incentive of SEP services, our population is not finding their way to our other services. This is heartbreaking, though it was a foreseeable outcome, and one which we warned against avidly. 

Finally, I want to say that we recognize that this amendment is a preview of the ordinance to come and we cannot support the amendment NOR the ordinance if they are going to tie the hands of SEPs operating within the city. This amendment would greatly reduce effectiveness of harm reduction practices in Humboldt county, as would an ordinance requiring the same. 

It is our hope that you will reconsider taking this action, and that you will vote no on this amendment in favor of an amendment based on harm reduction best practices.  

Thank you for your time. 


The meeting at Eureka City Council last night was as usual heartening in the amazing support that showed up for HACHR, but debilitating in outcome. Regardless, we will move forward and continue serving our people as best we can.