Categorized | NEWS

REDUCING HARM

Posted on 17 September 2019 by Tesha Christensen

When Jack Loftus and Jack Martin saw a gap in services for safe injection equipment and more access to naloxone to prevent deaths from opioid overdose, they started Southside Harm Reduction Services.
Two years later, they’re leading a crew of volunteers quietly working to distribute and pick up syringes in the Southside as they seek to reduce the stigma and judgement people using drugs experience.
“We recognize that drug use and the overdose crisis is incredibly complex and difficult to deal with, but we also know that everyone has the ability to make positive changes, from reducing stigma to picking up syringes to distributing naloxone themselves,” said Jack Martin. “And we know to embrace every positive change.”

AT RIGHT Luce Guillen (left) carefully places a used syringe into a container held by Michael Neil on Saturday, Aug. 24 during a clean up on the Midtown Greenway, Lake and Bloomington. Neil, a former user himself, says it is important to not just pick up the syringes, but to get to know the people who are homeless in order to know what they need. Plus, then he has some who save their syringes until the next time they see him, knowing he’ll dispose of them properly. “I let them know we love them,” said Neil. “It’s a reflection of where I come from, too.” (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

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