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The SOAR Initiative is an equal-opportunity employer who prioritizes hiring people directly affected by our work. A passion for harm reduction is essential for anyone looking to join our team, and people with lived experience with drug use are especially encouraged to appl

Who we are:

The SOAR Initiative works to fight the overdose crisis and prevent overdose deaths using innovative technology and a comprehensive harm reduction approach. We are a tax-exempt nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio with rapidly expanding programming across the state of Ohio. The SOAR Initiative was founded by a group of students at the Ohio State University, but now serves the wider community and is comprised of both students and professionals.
For us, harm reduction means working to prevent overdoses and other negative impacts associated with drug use without judgment or stigma. We meet people where they are, center the voices of people who use drugs and those with lived experience of drug use, and do not push treatment or recovery as necessary for people who use drugs to live safely, happily, and healthily.

Part of our programming includes widespread distribution of fentanyl test strips directly to people who use drugs, to activists and outreach workers, and by mail to anonymous recipients across the state. We also created six regional Deadly Batch Alert systems, which notify people who use drugs and their loved ones when overdoses surge or bad batches containing fentanyl are circulating and lets users anonymously report overdoses and bad batches themselves. This system will soon be replicated in a network of regional systems covering every county in Ohio. Currently we have systems covering Central Ohio, Northeast Ohio, Southern Ohio, Southwest Ohio, Hancock County, and Mahoning Valley.

Position Description:

We are seeking to hire part-time, paid outreach workers across the state of Ohio to talk to people who use drugs and activists about our Deadly Batch Alert systems and fentanyl test strip distribution and to build connections with local public health agencies and community organizations. Responsibilities will include:

Travel (compensated) to syringe exchanges, health departments, treatment clinics, and other community organizations to distribute fentanyl test strips and inform people who use drugs about our Deadly Batch Alert system.

Regular meetings with our Director of Community Relations.

Outreach and relationship-building with local activists and harm reduction groups.

Research about existing harm reduction infrastructure and gaps in the overdose crisis response in your local area.

Required Skills:

Willingness to learn about drug use, harm reduction, and the overdose crisis.

Ability to speak compassionately and without judgement to people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Reliable transportation within your local region (vehicle required for rural and suburban areas, public transit may be acceptable for larger cities).

Ability to work independently or with limited oversight towards a common goal.

Strong communication and organization skills.

Basic technology skills and the ability to demonstrate the use of our app and text system to others.

Willingness to commit to supporting people who use drugs, including using person-first language and avoiding stigmatization of drug use, while working, in private, and on social media.

Desired Skills:

Prior knowledge of the overdose crisis (lived experience of drug use highly valued).

Experience with harm reduction, overdose prevention, or community health promotion.

Background in public health, social work, or a related field (whether in a personal capacity or through a formal education).

Proficiency in Spanish or another language widely spoken in your area, if applicable.

Additional Information:

This position will be paid at a rate of $15 per hour plus transportation reimbursements for travel. Regions for outreach will correspond with Deadly Batch Alert systems, which may cover up to 10-12 Ohio counties. Every effort will be made to avoid excessive travel requirements and to utilize the knowledge and connections of employees within their local communities. Candidates may not have a defined schedule and may need to have some weekend and evening availability. Hours may range from 5 to 10 hours per week, though accommodations can be made for alternate situations.

The SOAR Initiative will provide initial training in harm reduction and outreach and employees will work with the Director of Community Relations to identify and connect with appropriate contacts and sites. Most communication will be virtual, either via email or Zoom, though SOAR may also conduct in-person training in the form of joint site visits in the employee’s local area.

This position is open for the summer, lasting until September 29th, with the potential to extend past then.
Please contact Director of Community Relations, Jessica Mitsch, at jessica@thesoarinitiative.org if you have further questions. To apply, please email jessica@thesoarinitiative.org and specify your preferred mode of communication.


As a part of our mission to reduce overdose deaths through harm reduction, we distribute fentanyl test strip kits, and we need your help packing them. If you are interested in volunteering with us in-person at our downtown Columbus office, click here to sign up. We will reach out to you as soon as possible.