Harm Reductionist, Peer Support Specialist
Steady began in November 2015 as an "any positive change" support group. Steady founder, Conner Adams, facilitated those group meetings and with the help of friends delivered naloxone and needles throughout Western NC to folks who use drugs and their friends and family.
In the spring of 2016, Conner gathered a group of people together to form Steady Collective's first board. Michel Guicheney and Hillary Brown, Steady's current staff members, were part of that founding board.
In initial meetings we excitedly talked about the prospect of House Bill 972 becoming law and making syringe access programs legal in North Carolina. In July, 972 did pass and Steady board members and volunteers began the work of securing sites where comprehensive, nonjudgmental harm reduction services could be provided to folks who use drugs.
In November of 2016, just a year after Conner's first support group meeting, Steady had its first syringe access outreach day in the back of Firestorm Books in West Asheville.
We still set up shop at Firestorm Books every Tuesday afternoon. We also distribute clean injecting equipment and naloxone out of our office at Haywood Street Congregation in downtown Asheville on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
In 2017, averaging seven and a half hours of outreach a week, Steady distributed 73,000 new syringes, collected 13,692 used syringes for proper disposal, handed out 1,762 naloxone kits to directly impacted people, and received 258 overdose reversal reports from folks who used naloxone kits obtained through Steady. We distributed thousands of tourniquets, cookers, cottons, alcohol swabs, and wound care supplies.
Conner's vision, that Steady would be a collective that centered the voices of former and active drug users at every level of the organization, a "nothing about us without us" model, is alive and well. We believe in solidarity, and the needs and hopes of folks who use drugs come first in everything we do.