Substance use response at RHHD: Meet Jasmine Blue!  

Gateway’s community work fills a vital role in our region’s efforts to address substance use disorder (SUD) through prevention, harm reduction, recovery, and treatment. RHHD recently hired a new Substance Use Disorder Coordinator to help create links within these areas and across our community. Below, get to know Jasmine Blue, who says one important step residents can take is registering for Rapid REVIVE! training. The free online course teaches participants how to spot signs of a potential opioid overdose and how to respond to the situation with life-saving opioid reversal agents like naloxone. Below, Jasmine responds to a few questions about her work and RHHD’s priorities:


Q: Health initiatives like Gateway and REVIVE! address different parts of substance use response—recovery in one case, and harm reduction in the other. Why is it important for a community to be doing work in both those areas?  

JB: The primary goal of harm reduction is to save lives and protect the health of people who use drugs. Harm reduction programs such as our Rapid REVIVE! training can serve as a bridge for individuals struggling with substance use to access treatment options, such as long-term recovery supports. By working together to combine harm reduction and recovery efforts, we can offer a more comprehensive approach, leading to better outcomes for both the individual and community.

Q: Part of your role will be helping RHHD create a longer-term strategy for how we respond to substance use. Why is that kind of planning important? 

JB: In the Greater Richmond Region, certain neighborhoods and communities are experiencing higher rates of overdose compared to others. Strategic planning helps us ensure that we are maximining our efforts to improve health outcomes in lives of those impacted by substance use. This includes efforts such as community engagement and collaborating with stakeholders such as healthcare facilities, government agencies, and other community-based organizations to ensure that our efforts are being aligned and that we are working to address the unique needs of our communities.

Q: What are you excited to learn or do in this new position? And what would you most like community members to understand about this work?  

JB: I’m excited to partner with so many amazing organizations to raise awareness in our local communities. I get to be a part of a change that creates more supportive environments for the individuals and families impacted by substance use that improve health outcomes. I’d most like the community to understand that working to reduce stigma is essential if we’re going to ensure that those seeking help for substance use feel supported and empowered.