James Sutton, host of Road To Recovery interviews Ben Stevenson, the manager for Harm Reduction Services at Health and Human Services in Montgomery County. Harm Reduction Services include Narcan education and training, Syringe Services, and Sex Education. Narcan is a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The staff has been conducting street outreach efforts in some of the hardest hit areas in the county. Walking up and down the streets training people on how to use Narcan and providing a free kit on the spot. They are focused on saturating the community and educating people that no matter what you look like or where you come from you are not immune to saving a life with Narcan.
How do you reach IV Drug Users in Montgomery County?
-Harm Reduction staff goes in the community, doing out reach in various areas.
-Partners with organizations that regularly engage with IV drug users and directly refer them.
-By word of mouth. Personal referral from some one that has used the services is a big way.
When people know their is a nonjudgmental, compassionate environment that they can feel comfortable getting services, they will seek them.
Aren’t you just contributing to the problem and helping people use?
-Harm Reduction mitigates the negative consequences that a person may experience from their harmful behavior, like contracting diseases or viruses.
-They focus on supporting health and wellbeing and eliminating overdoses.
-It is also a viable entry point to recovery.
-Not helping to use, but helping to be safer and hopefully sustain their life till they are ready for recovery.
The Syringe Service Program (SSP)
SSP is an entry level place to connect people with services. Since Covid there was a jump in numbers, so the SSP is trying to reach people where they are located.Plus, the needle program doesn’t require you to turn in needles to get needles. A minimum of 50 needles are given at at time. Needles are also collected to be disposed of safely. Additional services include a nurse on staff to help with would care services. Free HIV Testing and Hepatitis C Testing are available. As well as education about safer sex practices.
For more information call 240.777.1836, email email@example.com, or visit MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/Opioids.
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