Episode 82: Drug War Activism and the Future of Harm Reduction with Louise Vincent

The Drug War is more brutal than ever. Overdose deaths are still shattering records, there’s talk of war with the cartels, increased penalties are just making things worse, there’s little money for harm reduction programs or addiction treatment, yet plenty of cash for prisons, cops and the DEA, weird new drugs are appearing that no one knows how to handle and on and on. Meanwhile, the harm reduction movement is going through some massive changes, some good, some bad. But what we know for sure is that it’s critical for people to come together, stand up and demand a stop to the destructive force that is prohibition.

On this episode, the crew interviews Louise Vincent, director of the NC Survivors Union in North Carolina and on the leadership team of the National Drug User Union, an organization of former and active drug users who have come together to provide services for a community that is under-represented and underserved. Narcotica’s Chris Moraff, Zach Siegel and Troy Farah talk with Louise about xylazine, drug testing, using portable oxygen tanks to reverse cocaine overdoses (yes, really!), methadone access, the importance of drug user unions, why drug sellers are a community service, what it was like being on Last Week Tonight and so much more.

We’ve been trying to get Louise on for over a year and are really excited to share this episode with everyone. Thanks for listening. Expect more new episodes from us soon.

Learn more about NC Survivors Union at http://ncurbansurvivorunion.org/

Learn more about Louise’s story here: https://drugpolicy.org/drugsellers/louise

If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:
Episode 62: Policing Pleasure — The Intersection of Sex Work and Drug Use with Tamika Spellman and Caty Simon
Episode 56: Drug Use During Disaster with Aaron Ferguson
Episode 67: Methadone in the Time of Covid with Danielle Russell

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel, Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1
Image: Vocal NY via Flickr // edit: Troy Farah
Intro voice: Jenny Schaye

Episode 55: Street Sampling Synthetics, from Carfentanil to Xylazine with Alex Krotulski

Amid a wave of synthetic drugs in recent years, Kensington, Pennsylvania has emerged as the locus for a different kind of experimentation, through a new generation of freelance entrepreneurs. Their bathtub chemistry is often guided by trial and error—leaving doctors, public health officials and harm reductionists struggling to understand the latest side effects.

Last year, a concerned toxicologist from the nonprofit Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE) at the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation, the academic and research arm of NMS Labs outside Philadelphia, conceived of a new testing program. It employs sophisticated mass spectrometry to reveal the composition of retail-level street drugs.

Alex Krotulski, an associate director of the CFSRE, spoke to Narcotica co-host Chris Moraff about everything from synthetic cannabinoids like 5F-APB to carfentanil to xylazine.

You can follow Alex Krotulski on Twitter: @alexkrotulski and read Chris’s report on this subject in Filter Magazine.

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-producer: Garrett Farah
Music: Glass Boy / Suhov
Intro voice: Jenny Schaye
Image: edit: Troy Farah