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Bmore POWER is BHSB’s harm reduction outreach team.
Baltimore City residents continue to be disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic, and outreach workers are on the frontlines of connecting those in need with services and supplies to keep them safe. Street outreach uses a harm reduction approach, which emphasizes meeting people where they’re at, practicing nonjudgment, supporting individual autonomy, and embracing any positive change, no matter how small.
Bmore POWER (BMP) was established as an independent team of outreach workers in 2017 and joined Behavioral Health System Baltimore in 2020 as a team that is fully staffed by people with lived experience using drugs. Bmore POWER works throughout the city, fulfilling the team’s mission of saving lives, reducing harm, and working to mitigate risks that increase cases of Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. Bmore POWER is a critical on-the-ground arm of BHSB’s work and our city’s response to the overdose crisis.
Bmore POWER’s mission is to help people safeguard themselves and their communities from mental, physical, and societal harm. We are here to save lives, reduce harm, and address risky behaviors. We offer non-judgmental support and information to the communities we love.
Our team does harm reduction outreach throughout Baltimore. Harm reduction outreach activities include:
Launched in 2019, the Go Slow campaign was created by Bmore POWER with support from Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and Mission Media in response to the rise of opioid overdoses caused by fentanyl.
Using a variety of strategies, including digital marketing and community outreach, Bmore POWER helped spread the word about fentanyl along with these harm reduction tips:
- Carry Naloxone. Find free naloxone at your local Overdose Response Program here.
- Learn Rescue Breathing. This can keep someone who has overdosed alive until naloxone starts to work, or help arrives. View instructions here.
- Be Careful if Using Alone. It’s safest to use with a friend you trust, but if that’s not possible, have someone check on you, call Never Use Alone, or download the Brave App.
- Go Slow. When using any drug, start small and see how you feel before taking the rest.
- Test your drugs. Most overdoses in Maryland involve fentanyl. Get fentanyl test strips and/or drug testing kits to reduce risk (A link to an external site). Find a local program that offers free drug checking here.
Learn more at goslow.org
BHSB celebrates the lives of people who have shaped Bmore POWER.
Andre Kennedy was dedicated to expanding peer support and improving access to treatment. While he worked with Bmore POWER, he shared his story of recovery with BHSB. Andre also worked at Tuerk House providing peer support to people seeking treatment. He was a compassionate advocate for peer recovery with a warm smile.
William Miller, Sr., was one of the founders of Bmore POWER. He dedicated his life to building Baltimore’s peer-led harm reduction movement. He was also an inspiring community organizer and advocate who was dedicated to fighting systems of oppression and working towards liberation. He was loved and respected by harm reduction advocates in Baltimore and beyond. We are humbled by his legacy and will continue fighting for the dignity and rights of people who use drugs.
Phaedra Ward was a joyous, creative and loving person who worked with Bmore POWER from 2016-2018. She was a poet and author of the book Recoveroetry. In 2017, Phaedra was heartbroken to see the deadly impact that fentanyl was having on her friends and community. She wanted to create a public education campaign to warn people and save lives. Her vision became the Go Slow campaign. Phaedra was loved and inspired many people in the recovery and harm reduction communities in Baltimore.
- “Go Slow”—Baltimore’s Peer-Led Fentanyl Harm Reduction Campaign (filtermag.org)
- Thousands died from drug overdoses in Maryland but fatalities decline slightly | WYPR
- CCP Hackathon Seeks to Find Solutions to Opioid Overdose Epidemic – Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (jhu.edu)