The Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction disposes and exchanges 120,000 syringes
EUREKA, Calif. - It's been nine months since the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction started to exchange syringes and distribute Naloxone. Since then, it has collected and exchanged nearly 120,000 syringes. Over the weekend alone, staff said the HACHR received over 1,000 more and in the last month, they disposed of 139 pounds of syringes.
Staff at the HACHR said that anyone can bring in used syringes in exchange for clean ones, no questions asked. They also collect needles that have been left out on the streets and provide a safe disposal for people who don't want to throw the needles in the trash.
Brandie Wilson is the founder of HACHR and said that she has had many issues with people that accuse her of enabling drug users. Wilson said people are going to do the drugs regardless, but it's whether or not they do it a way that will prevent infection. "If people don't have access to clean syringes, and safe using supplies it's more than likely that there will be something happening in the community whether it's sky-rocketing hepatitis C rates or whether it's an outbreak of HIV," Wilson explained.
Since January, the HACHR has distributed 822 overdose reversal kits. Wilson said all of these were funded by St. Joseph Hospital. On April 1, the kits increased from $10.81 to $27.03. Because of this, she started a GoFundMe page to get donations from the community. Wilson said getting funding for Naloxone is important because Humboldt County has four times the state and national average of fatal drug overdoses.
The HACHR does not receive state or city funding, so staff said they are always hoping for donation and volunteers. If you would like to help out, visit http://hachr707.wixsite.com/hachr for more information.