Thu, Jan 25|
Virtual Event on Zoom
Overcoming the Barriers of Drug Testing: A Harm Reduction Approach
Drug testing is usually a standard condition for people on probation and parole, yet there is no evidence that uniform drug testing policies enhance public safety. This panel explores how a harm reduction approach can reduce punitive approaches to drug use and encourage rehabilitation.
Time & Location
Jan 25, 2024, 6:00 PM – 7:15 PM
Virtual Event on Zoom
About the event
Join us for the first MNJRC Continuing the Conversation of 2024 to explore how we can overcome the barriers of drug testing through applying a harm reduction approach.
General admission tickets for this event are FREE with a suggested donation of $20.00 to support the work of the MNJRC and our partners as you are able. CLE tickets are $60, and Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers are available for $20. If you want a CLE or Social Work CEU credit, please pay the ticket amount at registration.
About the event:
Drug testing is usually a standard condition for people on probation and parole, yet there is no evidence that uniform drug testing policies enhance public safety. Rather, more testing leads to more people sent to jail and prison, hindering their ability to keep their housing, employment, and social connections. This panel explores how a harm reduction approach can reduce punitive approaches to drug use and encourage rehabilitation. MNJRC's Will Cooley will moderate the discussion.
Latasha Jennings, MPH
Project Manager | Equity Advocate | Public Health Specialist
Latasha Jennings, MPH, is a dynamic professional dedicated to creating positive social change through her work in harm reduction, racial equity, and public health. With over 6 years of experience, Latasha has played pivotal roles across diverse sectors, transforming communities and systems to prioritize equity and well-being. Currently serving as the Project Manager for LEAD (Let Everyone Advance with Dignity) Minneapolis at Pillsbury United Communities, Latasha leads the charge in driving the LEAD program—a pioneering harm reduction initiative focused on diverting individuals away from low-level, nonviolent law violations related to unmet behavioral health needs. Her role involves orchestrating partnerships among law enforcement, health agencies, community members, and civil rights advocates to redirect individuals into long-term, community-based care instead of arrest. Latasha earned her Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Virginia, complementing her Bachelor’s Degrees in Biology and Women, Gender & Sexuality.
President - Pharmacist Member - Minneapolis
Dr. Ronda Chakolis graduated in 2009 from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Twin Cities campus. In 2020, she received her master’s degree in public health from American Public University. Dr. Chakolis has more than 12 years of Pharmacy Benefit Management experience and over 5 years of experience as a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pharmacist. Dr. Chakolis is involved in several community services projects that address health disparities, including infant mortality and opioid abuse.
Pearl Evans, Chair: MN Harm Reduction Collaborative
As a person of lived experience, Pearl Evans’ recovery journey placed her at the forefront of the opioid crisis, which ultimately carved a path for her to become a certified peer recovery specialist. Walking alongside peers and supporting peers in building their recovery capital, she discovered her voice as a recovery advocate, raising awareness about the disproportionate impact of the opioid crisis on Black Minnesotans and families. Witnessing the loss of friends and loved ones, she felt compelled to testify at a 2019 hearing held by the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Health and Human Services Committee. As a recovery advocate, she played an integral role in the coalition that successfully advocated for the passage of the groundbreaking 2019 Opioid Legislation that established the Opioid Emergency Response Advisory Council. Evans was appointed by Governor Walz as a representative of persons with lived experience and served on the council for 2 years where she continued to advocate for equity in overdose prevention by sharing her story and making the most of the opportunity to advocate for the direct allocation to Black led solutions as a pathway to closing the drug overdose disparities.
- Ticket type
MNJRC - Harm Reduction EventPricePay what you want
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