In this May 25, 2021, file photo, Kari Morissette of the Church of the Safe Injection stands in Portland's Deering Oaks Park. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Kari Morissette, executive director of the Church of Safe Injection, an organization dedicated to harm reduction for drug users, has died. She was 33.

Under her leadership, the organization became certified to operate needle exchange programs in Westbrook, Lewiston, Rumford, Bethel and Dixfield. Morissette recently lobbied for an expansion of the state’s Good Samaritan law that encourages people to report drug overdoses without fear of arrest. The governor signed the bill into law.

“Kari was one-of-a-kind. She was brave, compassionate, and visionary. She was unwavering in her commitment that people who use drugs should have safety, community and hope. Every single person Kari met was motivated by her love and positivity. That is the legacy she leaves with us,” said Zoe Brokos, director of operations for the Church of Safe Injection.

The organization declined to provide details of Morissette’s death.

The day before her death on May 6 she posted on social media to update friends about her success in resolving felony cases in Florida. The post was upbeat.

The Church of Safe Injection was founded as an unsanctioned, mobile program in 2018 by Jesse Harvey, who died in 2020. The death was described as a possible overdose.

A celebration of life is set for Sunday in Portland.

Correction: An earlier headline on this report misstated Kari Morissette’s age.