PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #2 from Middletown Harm Reduction Initiative

Each year, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a project, program, or venture. The Opioid Harm Reduction Initiative run by Livia Cox ’22 and Nick Wells ’20 was one of this year’s winners. This is their second report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2020. Read their first report here.

Deaths by opioid overdose in Connecticut have risen by 22% in the past year, a record high for the state. COVID-19 has exacerbated the opioid epidemic in a myriad of ways, and we anticipate this problem worsening in the coming months as the virus continues to storm the nation and the impending winter months contribute to the struggles of housing insecurity. 

After a busy summer, we are happy to be back in Middletown and going full steam ahead with our harm reduction work. We’ve officially changed our name to the “Middletown Harm Reduction Initiative” to better reflect our all-encompassing goals to provide harm reduction resources that are not exclusive to opioid use and include safer smoking kits for those who use crack cocaine. Our website has been updated to reflect these changes. 

We’re continuing our work with the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition and are excited to have partnered with them for resource (naloxone and syringe) assistance. Our case has been taken aboard by a legal firm who is assisting us in the acquisition of 501c-3 status which will make us more grant-eligible.

We’ve been in discussion with Gilead Community Services about effective distribution strategy. We’re continuing our work with Lance Williams ‘20 and the Follow Me Home Team. We’ve also purchased a rolling tool case (“rover”) from which we will conduct distributions. Supplies include naloxone, sterile needles, tourniquets, biohazard bin for used needle disposal, band-aids, antibiotic ointment and safer smoking kits.