Drugs, Sex and Policy

Harm reduction experts and advocates Cyndee Clay and Evan Serio gave a public talk on January 29, 2019. They addressed how fear-based narratives surrounding “sex” and “drugs” shape criminal legal and policy decisions.

On January 29, 2019, the Yale Global Health Studies Program and the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership co-hosted a discussion with harm reduction experts and advocates Cyndee Clay of HIPS and Evan Serio of the Sex Worker and Allies Network. The speakers addressed how fear-based narratives surrounding “sex” and “drugs” are shaping criminal legal and policy decisions affecting people who are engaged in selling sex, using drugs, and related activities.

Both are Spring 2019 Advocates-in-Residence with the Yale College Global Health Studies Program.

Speakers contextualized and presented case studies of local and federal laws, policies, and practices that have failed to fulfill the varied needs and rights of sex workers, as well as to mitigate the harms of the opioid epidemic and sex trafficking as an issue distinct from sex work.

Clay is the Executive Director of HIPS, is an internationally recognized expert in harm reduction-based public health responses for improving the health, safety and rights of people who engage in the sex trade, people who use drugs, and homeless LGBTQ individuals.

Serio is a designer, community activist, and harm reductionist, as well as the Director of Programming and Advocacy with the Sex Worker and Allies Network, a New Haven-based grassroots harm reduction organization led by and for current and former street-based sex worker communities.

Co-sponsors included: Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; Outlaws, YLS; REPROJustice, YSPH; Yale Law Student Alliance For Reproductive Justice