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The Response

Dec 8, 2020

Over the course of producing three seasons of The Response podcast, we’ve explored how natural hazards and other disruptions disproportionately impact marginalized communities at length. 

But one population we haven’t discussed before is people who use drugs. There is still so much stigma associated with using illegal and legal drugs despite the fact that it’s a normal part of life for millions of people worldwide.  

For the past 9 months, our team at Shareable have been working with Higher Ground Harm Reduction to explore how community-based harm reduction programs (and people who use drugs) are impacted by, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from climate-related and other systems-disrupting emergencies (like the pandemic).

I recently spoke at length with Christine Rodriguez, the executive director of Higher Ground Harm Reduction. We touch on her personal journey, what harm reduction actually is, how the current climate of disasters has impacted this work, and why we need to have more compassion for one another.

Next week, we’ll bring you part 2 of this special series with an audio documentary exploring the impact of disasters on harm reduction through the experiences of community service providers in California, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

The Response is executive produced and hosted by Tom Llewellyn, the series producer is Robert Raymond, and our theme music was provided by Cultivate Beats.

The Response is a project of Shareable, a nonprofit media outlet, action network, and consultancy promoting people-powered solutions for the common good. 

Our latest book, “Lessons from the First Wave: Resilience in the age of COVID-19”, is available as a free download at

Support for this project has been provided by the Threshold, Shift, Guerrilla, Clif Bar Family, and Abundant Earth foundations, Shareable’s sponsors including Tipalti, MyTurn, and NearMe, and tax-deductible donations from listeners like you. 

Additional funding for this research and 2-part series was provided by Resist, The Emergent Fund, Comer Foundation, NASTAD, and AIDS United.

A full transcript of this episode is available at

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