Okay so this is a weird one… How does a guy that needs help taking pictures on his phone launch an app? How do two computer science students make an impact on the overdose crisis? The answer is community collaboration to create community solutions.
One of the fundamental purposes of harm reduction is to connect individuals with services if they want or need them. So, couple of years ago, we submitted a proposal for a project to a student organization called Coding For Change. Since then we’ve been working on developing a resource for people who are most deeply impacted by the overdose crisis: first, those who use substances that are most at risk from the current poisoning of the drug supply, and second, the variety of frontline harm reduction workers who have been overwhelmed with the need and immensity of the response.
What we’ve come up with is Bevel App. If you’ve been around harm reduction environments for a while you get it. If you haven’t, Bevel App is a nod to the foundational documentary called Bevel Up which, in 2007, provided an overview of harm reduction education. Check it out if you have the opportunity.
In its launch format, Bevel App will be a harm reduction services resource that will map out where to access services. It will initially launch in Vancouver, with a provincial, national, and hopefully continent-wide rollout to follow.
At Zero Block Society we’re proud of where this project has arrived. Aside from the coding (which was done by the student-run Code the Change Foundation), the look and content of the app has all been created by community members – service users and frontline workers alike. It has been developed with zero funding, with the artwork and labour being donated or exchanged. We will need to change how it’s funded in the very near future but we’ve gotten it to this point as a community-driven project in collaboration with the student programmers.
And now we’re beta testing. In the next few days the app will finally be on the phones of frontline workers and those who access services for the first time. And soon it will downloadable by anyone.
Your support is appreciated. We hope this is one small step toward a future of zero deaths by overdose.