Sep 8, 2014

The first coherent strategy for the heroin epidemic

My focus this past year has been the heroin epidemic. The result is a book that delivers three things.
  • A coherent strategy to manage heroin overdose risk for the population.
  • A strong narrative of recovery that supports harm reduction.
  • A public policy framework that aligns service systems and creates the necessary infrastructure.
From the Introduction
Heroin is an epidemic, a health threat. What has kept us from attacking it effectively is a social stance we have taken towards the people who suffer. We face a decision point. We can attack it with all we've got. Our health system and legal system can align their efforts, work together, and solve this. Or we watch more people die.
This is a book for personal recovery, for advocacy, and for system building work. From the chapter "Social Infection"
Alignment and continuity matter. The fatal risk around heroin is frighteningly high, and people who use heroin are fragile. When people disconnect from service systems, relapse turns fatal fast.
Heroin is proving to be a kind of signaling system. It shows us how shunning, exclusion, violence, neglect, and system failure infect our safe world. This population is tough to serve, but so what. People in service systems have the capacity to adapt, and a duty to respond to the people at the heart of their missions.
Purchase SHARP Stop Heroin and Rescue People at Amazon

I have also started a meetup group to pursue development of systematic rescue in communities. Learn more at The website also features downloadable worksheets for community planning work.

The book addresses several audiences: community workers, people pursuing recovery and family members, and all the rest of us. The real alternative to heroin is a positive, safe world. It is our efforts, how we treat each other as well as the opportunities we create, that build and sustain that world.


Anonymous said...

I clicked on the link to Redesigning Mental Illness and it took me to a place that stated that the page had not yet been published.
I then copied and pasted the url and that worked!

Paul Komarek said...

Thanks. I fixed the link.