Geelong (Jan 2015)

Geelong held its first Harm reduction Café last night, at Beavs Bar, Geelong. Hopefully this first of what will become a regular feature on the Barwon's harm reduction landscape.

The café was well attended with about 15 people showing up throughout the night, from a wide range of agencies within the sector. Psychiatrists, Pharmacists, a GP, case workers, youth clinicians, service managers and NSP peak body represented made up the crowd, so some interesting conversations were had!

The importance of events of this nature cannot be understated. It gave the people on the night a chance to network outside of the conventions of "networking" that we usually find ourselves in ie. outside a conference venue, sneaking a cigarette between sessions where we usually sit in silence taking notes.

Naloxone was the topic of much conversation. As part of the early adopter program developed by Penington, trainers were able to connect with GP's and pharmacists, completing the picture of how this training has translated to the medication getting into people's hands. Successful reversals were discussed, and the real face of our work was unmasked in the process.

Novel psychoactives, their availability and how they get into the hands of people in "restricted" environments was interesting, and highlights the ingenuity of people, to use if that's their choice, regardless of where they might be "living". The recent increase in their use and some of the harms we are seeing – and importantly, what we might be able to do, to better support people to use as safely as possible were also discussed.

The videos that were planned to be screened, discussing the importance of Harm Reduction and peoples relationship to the work, took a back seat as people were more inclined to hear each other's perspectives on the work – so something to table for the next meeting, which is hopefully soon!

I was too busy to get as many photos as I would have liked – so here are a few snaps of a couple of attendees.
Expect more from this group!

This report was submitted by Craig Harvey and first appeared on this blog 'The Harm Reductionist'.

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