Eddie Einbinder Talks Playing it Safe

I’m a psychotherapist at The Center for Optimal Living who primarily works with young adults. I’m also a passionate activist for drug education. I travel nationally and internationally to universities and health centers, giving talks, workshops and screening my video series, Play Safe, a documentary featuring young people using their drug of choice, in the safest possible manner. In my workshops, I walk through harm reduction tactics and ways to decrease the physical, psychological, social and legal risks of using these substances.

In 2017, a European tour of Play Safe took me to seven cities in sixteen days. Each screening was followed by a discussion. The hosts included health clinics, hospitals, medical schools and art galleries. At these discussions, participants offered harm reduction strategies for people who use drugs. We also debated on how to most successfully engage with young adults in different levels of treatment for substance misuse.

Last week I heard from HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje, a progressive substance related health clinic in Macedonia. Irena Jovanovska of HOPS interviewed me toward the end of my trip. Check it out!

Certainly a healthy reminder of how purposeful and rewarding this work is, and a motivator to attempt the planning of my potential next tour, hopefully numerous stops through Africa, to follow the International Harm Reduction Conference in Portugal in Spring 2019.

For those of you are are based in New York, I’ll be screening a few episodes and holding open discussion among students at the CUNY Wellness Festival at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn on May 15th. Hope to see you there!



Eddie Einbinder is an internationally recognized educator of harm reduction within drug use. His work in this field is presented through lectures, literature and film, and is targeted towards youth and young adults. He started his formal research in drug use and associated risky behaviors while obtaining his B.A. in Psychology at Lehigh University. This research was the basis of his book, How To Have Fun And Not Die, which won the grand prize at the 2008 New York Book Festival. This event was the catalyst for a lecture tour that found him at over 100 universities and high schools over the following two years. In order to reach a larger audience and greater level of detail, Einbinder directed a drug education documentary film series, called Play Safe. Each episode observes individuals using their drug of choice and utilizing harm reduction tactics to teach safest practice. Play Safe debuted at the Harm Reduction International conference in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2013. The film continues to screen at institutions around the globe, and is partially made available online.

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