Pearl Jam to Partner with Project RED
Pearl Jam to Partner with Project RED and the Alano Club of Portland on Overdose Prevention Initiative for U.S. Tour Dates
As the number of annual overdose deaths in the United States surpasses 100,000 and fentanyl has become the leading cause of death for people ages 18-45, Pearl Jam and Project RED (Reduction, Education, Distribution), an overdose prevention initiative from the Alano Club of Portland, have launched a partnership to raise awareness about overdose prevention.
Project RED will be on site with representatives from local harm reduction and recovery organizations on every date on Pearl Jam's September US tour to distribute overdose prevention supplies and educational materials and offer training on overdose identification and prevention. There will also be information about local and national supports and services for those in or seeking recovery from substance use or mental health disorders.
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready knows all too well the importance of, and need for, overdose prevention and recovery services. “I’m sad that we’ve lost so many musicians that we loved dearly,” McCready said. “We’ve lost too many people to addiction and mental health issues. I was lucky to have support around me for my own recovery journey and my hope is that with increased access to overdose prevention supplies and information and recovery support, together we can stop some of these senseless deaths.”
Project RED began with exactly that mission in mind as Ellen Wirshup, who conceived and manages the program for the Alano Club of Portland, started Project RED in the wake of losing several close friends to accidental overdose.
"Our mission and message are pretty simple," said Wirshup, who is in recovery from a substance use disorder. "Narcan saves lives. Fentanyl test strips save lives. Removing the barriers to those supplies — making them free and accessible, everywhere — saves lives. Three in five overdoses happen with a bystander present. Imagine how many people would still be alive if those bystanders were carrying, or had immediate access to, Narcan. The AMA has recommended making Narcan available over the counter in every state, as has the CDC. Our mission is to work until these life-saving supplies are accessible to anyone, and present anywhere there's a first aid kit."
Project RED works primarily with bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in Portland, Oregon to provide overdose prevention supplies and training, and also partners nationally with harm reduction and recovery organizations to coordinate trainings and provide support to establishments, workers and artists.
Wirshup said everyone involved with Project RED is connected in some way to the service and entertainment industries. "Our outreach is focused in those spaces because those are the spaces where we worked and gathered with our friends, many of whom are gone. The reality is, people are using drugs in bars and restaurants, at concerts and festivals. Our mission is to ensure businesses, venues and staff are prepared to save a life rather than pretend it's not happening."
"Pearl Jam is a band whose members have lived experience with losing loved ones to overdose, and lived experience with recovery," said Brent Canode, Executive Director of the Alano Club of Portland. "Our organization provides cost-free recovery supports and overdose prevention resources, so it made sense to represent the full breadth of that work, to meet people wherever they're at. For Pearl Jam to use their platform to amplify this message is incredible, and it will make an enormous difference. It's also in keeping with the band's history of shining a light on issues that deeply impact historically marginalized communities; communities where there is the greatest need. We could not be more excited and grateful to partner with Pearl Jam on this initiative."
For more information about Project RED visit projectredinitiative.org
For more information about Pearl Jam’s North America Tour dates visit https://pearljam.com/tour