PHRA Giveaway

Out of Lube and Out of Luck

Story originally published on Safe Seattle in July 2020

Some weeks ago, the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (PHRA) was advertising that they’d mail free drug supplies (everything but the drugs, basically) and other goodies to people who gave their mailing address and contact info on an online form.

Using a reader volunteer, we went through the process to see whether PHRA offered any treatment options along with the goodies. They do claim to offer a treatment contact if you check a box on the online form (see first photo), so we had our volunteer check the box saying, “Yes. I want a call.”

Unfortunately no one has ever followed up with the volunteer in several weeks, nor was any treatment info included in the packet, as you can see.

You’d have to run this test with several “secret shoppers” over time to know for sure whether this was a one-time oversight or whether PHRA is just giving lip service to the treatment thing so they could qualify for the grant money that supports their operation. However, given what we know about PHRA generally, and how they’re so keen on HELPING people use, we think the latter explanation is more likely to be true. As we’ve been saying for years now, folks who go to PHRA for their free supplies do it because they want to stay ON drugs, not because they want to get off.

PHRA’s free online order form.

“Bubbles” for smoking methamphetamine.

Condoms for safe sex.

Razor blades and straws for snorting cocaine and other powdered drugs.

This warning, included with the kit, gives misleading information about how Hepatitis C is spread. Hep C is spread through blood-to-blood transmission. While it has (rarely) been known to be spread through sharing of razor blades for shaving, there is no documented case of it being transmitted from a razor used for chopping cocaine.