Meet Gregory Bell
Watch Gregory talk about who he serve, how he started working in harm reduction, and the richness of his experience.
My name is Gregory Bell. I am a harm reduction worker at Regent Park Community Health Center, and I work in the Downtown East Core of the city of Toronto. I serve the poor, the un-nourished. I serve people that have poverty and mental health, addictions, incarceration – you name it, it just goes on and on. Mental abuse. Physical abuse. Drug users come in many, many, different forms. We serve a huge community.
I was at Regent Park Community Health Centre one day and I noticed that there was a little survey going on – or, not really a survey, but a chance to join a conversation group where you learn a thing called “harm reduction”. It paid 20 bucks for each two-hour session. So me being a drug smoker that I am, I said, “Well you know that’s an easy way for me to get 20 bucks and help support my habits.’ So in the beginning, that’s why I went. And then I started listening, I started hearing stuff that sounded good to my ears, and I sort of thought, “This is a natural fit for me, being the kind of guy that I am, and being a drug user on top of it”. The next thing you know, I had a job.
I’ve been through thick and thin, and through hell and high water; I’ve kept that job ever since – and that’s a miracle almost unto itself.
All these skills I’ve achieved, or I’ve acquired as a person. Most people would say, “Well how successful are you? Do you have a portfolio? How’s your stock situation?” Fuck, I got no stocks! But, I’m rich in experience, and I’m rich in other ways. Those are ways I want to be rich.