Neighbours podcast: Peter Williams on how “connection, community and belonging” are at the core of harm reduction

Peter Williams has a long history doing harm reduction work, though he didn’t necessarily realize it as such at the time, but he notices now looking back on it. “What I know now looking back is that I was doing harm reduction work but that wasn’t necessarily the framework for it,” he says during our conversation for the Neighbours podcast.

He started out working with an HIV/AIDS hospice in Toronto during the 1980s, the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and continuing that work as he worked for a number of agencies and then when he came to Peterborough to work at the Peterborough AIDS Resource Network (PARN) in 2010  when he was an HIV/AIDS education and harm reduction works coordinator.

Right now, Peter is a project lead for the Peterborough Drug Strategy. He coordinates the Housing Unit Takeover project and supports the Mobile Supportive Overdose Resource Team.

Before that Peter was the community development and engagement coordinator for the Peterborough Police, and in this role also became the chair of the Peterborough Drug Strategy, which is a collective of community partners focused on addressing the drug crisis. In this position he was one of the early leaders in the push to submit a Consumption and Treatment Site application for Peterborough. 

In our conversation, Peter talks about this history and how community needs, belonging and connection are at the heart of it all.

The Neighbours Podcast is an audio series that introduces you to community members working on the frontline of the opioid crisis here in Peterborough.

Episode transcript coming soon.

Published by Ayesha Barmania

Ayesha Barmania is a journalist-entrepreneur and audio documentary maker, living and working in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.