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ID: 1407

Type of submission: Workshop

Conference track: Advocacy

Topics: Drug Policy Reform and Advocacy; Harm Reduction Advocacy and Activism

Presenting author: Patrick Gallahue

Presenting author biography:

Patrick Gallahue is an activist currently based in Connecticut. Now in state government, Patrick has worked for Harm Reduction International, Open Society Foundations and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Work locally

Patrick Gallahue

This workshop will discuss tactics for working locally, including engaging elected officials, preparing for legislative hearings, identifying critical partners and other best practices from activists working at the local level.

Throughout the week, attendees of the Harm Reduction International Conference will learn a great deal about best practices in drug policy and harm reduction. However, some conference attendees may be unsure about how to implement those interventions in their own communities.

Local media, lawmakers and even public opinion can present daunting barriers to introduction of life-saving services. Yet, these are not insurmountable barriers and there are a growing number of success stories from local towns, counties, cities, states and regions. These hard-fought victories were won through exemplary coalition-building, editorial board engagement and strategic outreach to lawmakers. Each of these approaches included tactics that may be usable in other environments.

Participants are invited to share their experiences on what works in their local contexts for communicating goals and winning over influential audiences. While experiences will inevitably vary the goal is to compare approaches and identify successful tips of the trade that may be adaptable. Whether working to pass a bill, get the attention of local officials or earn favorable media, this workshop will focus on skills-building and information-sharing from a cross-section of groups dedicated to making change in their communities.

All are welcome to share their experiences and compare winning strategies from different contexts.