“We know the streets:” race, place, and the politics of harm reduction

Jill Owczarzak, Noelle Weicker, Glenna Urquhart, Miles Morris, Ju Nyeong Park, Susan G. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores how a peer-and street-based naloxone distribution program (Bmore POWER) reshapes narratives and practices around drug use and harm reduction in an urban context with an enduring opioid epidemic. Data collection included observations of Bmore POWER outreach events and interviews with peers. Bmore POWER members create a sense of community responsibility around overdose prevention and reconfigure overdose hotspots from places of ambivalence to places of grassroots action. It expands a harm reduction approach to Black communities that have not traditionally embraced it and that have been underserved by drug treatment programs. Policy makers should consider ways to use peers grounded in specific communities to expand other aspects of harm reduction, such as syringe and support services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102376
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Harm reduction
  • Naloxone
  • Opioids
  • Overdose
  • Peers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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