"Shane Sullivan, HIPS Community Outreach Specialist, wrote a piece on Medium about the need for Washington, DC's first safe consumption space. [Read More]
"Highlighting naloxone access within the past couple of years has forced us to acknowledge the painful reality that we’ve already lost so many DC residents to preventable overdoses. We need to name that for what it is: a systematic failure of people who use drugs, particularly those most vulnerable due to racism, poverty, disability, and related social factors."
District residents can walk into their local pharmacy and ask for FREE naloxone, the overdose-reversing drug
Alexandra Bradley, Mobile Services Manager at the nonprofit HIPS, has been giving out free Naloxone (also known as Narcan) as part of HIPS’ harm reduction program since well before the pilot. In addition to naloxone, the group gives out condoms and offers information on syringe exchange programs. For Bradley, any reduction in barriers to accessing naloxone is a good thing. Bradley also says that for the clients HIPS serves, which include sex workers, people with substance use disorders, and people experiencing homelessness, pilots like these aren’t always practical. “To go to the pharmacy, you have to be willing to ask a pharmacist in public about Naloxone and risk them acting a certain way,” says Bradley. According to an American Medical Association opioid report released this month, there’s a mistaken belief that naloxone will encourage “risky behavior,” or encourage people to continue using knowing there’s an antidote. And this might make people fearful to ask for it, even if the drug isn’t intended for them, but rather for a friend or a family member. Instead of going to a pharmacy, Bradley says community members can receive free naloxone from HIPS directly. The group gives it out when they do outreach activities. According to Bradley, the Department of Health provides a lot of community-based organizations like HIPS with free Naloxone to hand out. That way people can receive it, no questions asked, from a group familiar to them. The pilot is a great back-up for emergencies when HIPS and other community-based organizations aren’t immediately available, Bradley says. [Read Article]