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Addiction Treatment and Prevention Gaps Bridged by New Center
A syringe exchange program has helped connect local residents with addiction treatment options.
The HRC houses the city's only syringe exchange program (SEP). The first SEP was established in Mandan in January.
The Good Neighbor Project also opened an SEP in nearby Moorhead, Minnesota in 2015.
HRC provides sterile needles and other drug paraphernalia to local community members dealing with substance abuse. One of its aims is to reduce the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C as a result of intravenous drug use. The center also distributes naloxone and other medical supplies.
A Fargo Cass Public Health official stated that more than 6,300 syringes had been given out in the three months the center has been open.
Building relationships with clients is important to HRC staff. They hope that through their help, clients choose to not only spread awareness about HRC's services, but also decide to take further steps in their addiction recovery journey.
According to an HRC representative, the harm reduction model is different from some traditional addiction treatment approaches, specifically not requiring people with substance use disorders to be sober before receiving further treatment — instead, it promotes safe drug use practices, encourages reduced drug use and refers clients to local addiction treatment clinics.
The Good Neighbor Project is working to open additional SEPs across the state.