Founded in 2018, Inland Empire Harm Reduction (IEHR) is a local, community-based, public health 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on improving the health and well-being of individuals affected by drug use in Riverside County and in surrounding areas. IEHR seeks to engage in and provide harm reduction services to the community, meaning that we recognize that:
- Drug use is a part of our world. We seek to minimize its harmful effects rather than ignore and condemn those who use.
- The people using drugs are people. They are ourselves, our friends, our family, our loved ones, our co-workers, and our neighbors. Their lives have meaning and value. Their experiences are valid.
- Drug users themselves are the primary agents of reducing the harms of their use, and we seek to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
Rather than stigmatize or criminalize people for using drugs, we seek to empower those who use to do so in the safest possible manner.
To improve the health and well-being of people affected by drug use in the Inland Empire.
Our team provides a variety of services to support our community. Services include overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution, syringe services (started in Fall of 2020) and healthcare and community resource referrals. A more comprehensive overview of our services can be found under our “Services” page.
Why Harm Reduction?
Given that opioid and intravenous drug use are serious social issues that disproportionately impact low-income community members, harm reduction projects are vital to the health and well-being of individuals and of communities. We believe that lack of access to targeted public health services and over-reliance on outdated and fundamentally punitive models for dealing with drug-related concerns are a part of the problem. IEHR seeks to implement a different, solutions-based approach.
To do this, we provide education and access to recovery options for people currently using opioids or other drugs and provide clean supplies and other resources so that individuals who use drugs may do so in a way that is safer for themselves and their communities. We also participate in retrieval of used syringes, provide free Naloxone and trainings on its use to help prevent death from overdose, and seek to build and strengthen connections with similar public health projects and organizations.