PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #3 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 third report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2020. Read their other reports here and here


Lydia Cox '22 with the MHRI's rover

Lydia Cox ’22 with the Middletown Harm Reduction Initiative’s new rover

     The last few months have largely entailed administrative work. We’ve been meeting routinely with the legal team at Gibson Dunn law firm, who’s kindly taken us on as pro-bono clients in the acquisition of a federal nonprofit (501c3). We’re in the process of drafting bylaws, organizing the governance/structure and preparing the annual filings we’ll have to make with the IRS once approved.

       Moving forward, we are focused on initiating the groundwork that we’ve been planning for the last year. We are currently planning to work with ACT, a local needle exchange program, to begin small-scale harm reduction resource distributions from our newly purchased rover (which contains naloxone, tourniquets, antibiotic ointment, alcohol swabs, and safer smoking and injection kits). We’ll begin shadowing their Friday morning distributions this week with the intention of tag-teaming on their efforts to provide more distributions per week (as of now, we’re planning on doing rover distributions on Tuesdays). We hope that working with other established efforts will ease our transition into the community to minimize disruption and maximize our effectiveness.

       We are particularly interested in involving new volunteers who are interested in harm reduction work, as the continuing involvement of passionate community members will be vital for the success of our initiative moving forward. We are excited to continue our partnership with Lance Williams’s Follow Me Home in order to establish a network of workers who are interested in helping the community. With a strong connection to locally-based organizations, we are hopeful that our initiative will have a positive and meaningful impact on the health and safety of those in need.