The first days of the new year are often not kind to us party people. After going hard for hours on end to celebrate, reflecting on your use while nursing your hangover makes a lot of sense! Hopefully you were able to sneak some harm reduction strategies into your holiday partying by drinking water, not sharing straws or other drug use supplies and finding safe rides homes in the wee hours of 2019. It might be tempting to make a long list of all your resolutions for the new year but not so fast! That same philosophy that nudged you to party safer can also help you set realistic goals for your substance use.
A drug user’s guide to harm reduction new years resolutions
Hormone replacement therapy (often known by its acronym, HRT) is a medical treatment where the levels of sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) are changed by using sex hormones and/or hormone blockers. HRTHormone replacement therapy is used for a variety of medical applications, ranging from relief of menopause symptoms, relief of andropause symptoms (andropause is kind of like the male version of menopause- cis mens’ testosterone levels decline with age, which can cause symptoms similar to menopause in cis women), and treating hormone sensitive cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. However, this literature will focus on the use of hormone replacement therapy to treat gender dysphoria in transgender and non binary people.
Be sure to check the GLOSSARY at the end of the post if there are any words that are new to you!.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE, AND THIS INFO IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICALLY SUPERVISED HRT REGIMEN.
This literature is based on information compiled from the lived experiences of trans people who are unable to access health care for hormonal transition, and decide to self-medicate HRT. Although the risks of HRT are very low when medically supervised, they are significantly higher when one is undergoing a DIY regimen. The information in this literature is only intended to provide a level of information that is slightly better than wild guessing for DIY HRT. The risks of DIY HRT cannot be eliminated or ruled out by following any of the info in this literature, and this is not intended to be information on how to administer DIY hormones safely. This is intended for the sake of getting information out there. Unfortunately, some online trans spaces ban discussion of things like recommended doses of hormones, which leaves people completely in the dark. Even though the risks of DIY HRT are alwaysstill present, it’s still better at the very least to know what dose ranges and what drugs are prescribed by doctors, rather than completely guessing what drugs and what doses to take. Continue reading →
There are many different models of harm reduction. The basic philosophy of harm reduction which recognizes drug use as a value neutral act and emphasizes the importance of any positive change, is steeped in white-settler ideology. Indigenous youth experience unique barriers, have unique cultural relationships to substances for ceremonies and experience the ongoing harms of colonization. If we truly want to reduce the harms that come with using drugs, we must start by looking at the traumatic violence that people who use drugs experience because of violent systems of oppression, like colonialism. The following harm reduction resources are examples of indigenizing harm reduction and making the philosophy relevant to indigenous youth who use drugs.
First Nations Health Authority: Has a resource on indigenous harm reduction that uses animals with spiritual significance in British Columbia to symbolize healing principles and harm reduction strategies.
Rather than using a four pillars model of harm reduction NYSHN uses a four fire model focusing on specific harm reduction for indigenous youth. http://www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com/indigenizingharmreduction.html
The Learning Circle at University of British Columbia invited folks involved in indigenous harm reduction work to come speak about their work. Find this engaging conversation between indigenous peer workers where they:
Discuss nation-based cultural and traditional values that align with the principles of harm reduction
Explore definitions of intergenerational trauma and intergenerational strength and how this applies to harm reduction
Explore the Indigenous Principles of Healing and Harm Reduction model
Discuss the declaration of the public health emergency in response to opioid overdose, and the expanded Take Home Naloxone Program