(LATIMES) — Heroin shooters, speed users, pot smokers and even some men and women who now are drug-free convene regularly in this city’s gritty Tenderloin district — not for treatment, but to discuss public health policy and share their experiences free from shame or blame.

On this particular evening, the dozen or so in attendance had some pressing questions, including how those heading to a users’ conference in Oregon this fall would obtain their methadone or safely procure other drugs to use in a supervised injection room.

“We have to figure that out,” said Isaac Jackson, the group’s senior organizer. The 56-year-old, who holds a doctorate in media arts and sciences from MIT, turned to speed in his mid-30s. “Nobody should [skip] this conference because they’re afraid they’re not going to get their dose.”

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