Tessie Castillo

Tessie is a writer and drug policy advocate in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles explore topics such as criminal justice reform, drug policy and harm reduction. She previously served as the advocacy and communications coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a statewide nonprofit that advances drug policy and criminal justice reform. During that time, she played a pivotal role in helping to legalize syringe exchange programs and expand access to naloxone. You can find her at her website or on Instagram.

Cops Who Turn Against the Drug War Really Matter

Commissaris Muyshondt, sorry to bother you,” said a voice over the phone. “We arrested your brother this morning. Just thought…

43 mins

When Harm Reduction Expansion Stifles Activism: A Lesson From Europe

For six weeks this summer I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit harm reduction programs all over Western Europe. In…

2 months

How Can Harm Reduction Do Better for Transgender People?

In 2015 Tori Cooper decided to leave a successful nonprofit career to blaze a trail advocating for the rights of…

2 months

Women Who Use Drugs: Challenges Demand Self-Led Harm Reduction

Bree Cassell first injected heroin when she was 15 years old. Despite wanting to do so, she was so scared…

4 months

Drug Paraphernalia Laws: The “Swiss Army Knife” of the Drug War

On June 7, 2018 Jessica* was sitting behind a church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, when two police officers walked by.…

6 months

Will Women of Color Leading Nonprofits Drive Deeper Equity?

  The reign of the middle-aged white man is over,” declared House of Cards President Claire Underwood in a steely-eyed…

7 months

“Exhilarating”—The Life of a Career Drug Dealer Illustrates Hard Truths

Casper has lived a life out straight out of Pulp Fiction. Over a 26-year career selling illicit drugs across the…

8 months

Cops in Harm Reduction: An Insult? Or Incremental Positive Change?

Peter Sadler looked like a lost member of the Beastie Boys, but as soon as he spoke it was obvious…

10 months

Why Drug Dealers Are the Wrong People to Blame for the Overdose Crisis

Tyrique Wise was working at his self-owned painting and pressure washing business in Southern Shores, North Carolina, when the police…

11 months

The Invisible Majority: People Whose Drug Use Is Not Problematic

For years, Mark* woke up each morning, made breakfast for his two young children, and dropped them off at school…

12 months