You can’t address Appalachia without addressing addiction, namely the opioid epidemic. At Queer Appalachia, we try to shed light on the prevalence of this problem in the region and seek to emphasize that nobody— regardless of addiction status— is disposable.
With the disheartening and exponentially increasing rate of opioid abuse in Appalachia, there is nobody in the region who doesn’t play a role. As if being queer in rural regions isn’t isolating and ostracizing enough, the addition of trying to recover only further exacerbates these experiences. The numbers of opioid abuse in Appalachia increase significantly when you looking at folks with queer identities.
We believe in creating the world we want to see, putting actions behind our words, and not waiting on the powers that be to do what needs doing.
In 2018 we started collecting the first data on queer addiction in Appalachia through a series of surveys with our followers. We have been working with West Virginia University Press to publish this groundbreaking data. We are excited to announce the data will be published in a book called Opioid Aesthetics: Expressive Culture in an Age of Addiction, part of WVU Press’s Fall 2020 releases. The book will also feature our DIY hands on approach to Harm Reduction that centers community praxis, intersectionality & decolonization.
QA Harm Reduction
Queer Appalachia responds to our community's needs by offering Harm Reduction trainings and supplies. We offer free Narcan, Naloxone, home HIV test kits, fentanyl test strips, emergency contraception, sharps container, RX disposal bags, on-the-spot testing for Hep C, & more.
Fall of 2019 we set out on our first Harm Reduction Tour, heading out to different cities, small rural towns, community hubs in rural hollers, handing out supplies and training people as we went. In a matter of a couple months we had handed out over 2,000 doses of naloxone!
To request a pop up, training, or mobile unit visit with trained Harm Reductionists email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Harm Reduction Unit
We share a mobile Harm Reduction unit with the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition. Our van, lovingly named "Dose Buster" has a ADA compliant ramp, is stocked with supplies, offers Hep C testing and safer use counseling. It also has an examination table for our queer health provider to see clients. Winter of 2019/2020, Dose Buster has been driving to different communities along the Southwest Virginia/Southern West Virginia border.