SSW News

Exploring Harm Reduction in Baltimore

February 1, 2018    |  

The University of Maryland School of Social Work was the site for an important workshop that explored "Harm Reduction and Diverting Drug Users to Treatment with Baltimore City’s LEAD Program."

The criminalization of drug use and addiction in Baltimore and across the United States has contributed to the highest rates of incarceration in the world. Much is known about the devastating effect this approach has had, especially on under-resourced families and communities, and these lasting effects fuel a growing recognition of the urgency to address addiction and attendant crime through a public health lens. This workshop introduced the basic tenets of Harm Reduction, a practice rooted in public health principles, and how it can save lives and heal communities. Baltimore City’s LEAD program, which replicates a Seattle program now being funded and replicated in cities across the country, is used as a local example to discuss the challenges and potential for collaboration among the city behavioral health agencies, police, and communities affected by the War on Drugs.

Panelists included:
Daniel Atzmon, LEAD Program Manager, Behavioral Health System Baltimore
Harriet Smith, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition
Lieutenant Thomas Leone, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus Police
Ricky Morris, Harm Reduction Specialist, Bmore POWER
Rajani Gudlavalleti, BRIDGES Coalition Organizer

The event was organized by the School's Corey Shdaimah, LL.M., PhD, Associate Professor, with, and at the initiative of, medical student Zofia Koza along with the support of the University's Center for Addiction Research, Evaluation, and Services (CARES) directed by School of Social Work Assistant Professor Michelle Tuten, PhD. 

For more information on this program, please email Corey Shdaimah.

Harm Panel

Harm Panel

Rudjani Gudlavalleti, BRIDGES Colation Organizer speaks to the large group gathered to learn more about the Harm Reduction program in Baltimore.