Harm Reduction Outreach

Harm Reduction Outreach 

In an effort to reduce overdose deaths, HIV and Hepatitis C transmissions, and barriers to treatment, Live4Lali and the Lake County Health Department are teaming up to offer a new local strategy. Motivated by the devastating impacts of the growing opioid epidemic, a team of public health educators, physicians and medical professionals, social workers, and impacted advocates will provide free harm reduction services weekly at our Round Lake Park site.

None of this could have been done without the support, guidance and generous donations provided by Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA), Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), the Lake County Health Department, Maya Doe-Simkins, Dr. Beth Dunlap, Ray’s Auto Body, and Chief George Filenko of the Round Lake Park Police Department. Without these community partners this would only have been an idea!

The facts about drug use are real:

  • In 2016, 1,887 people in Illinois died from opioid-related overdoses. This figure is more than twice the rate of car crash fatalities and 1.5 times the number of homicidal deaths. (Illinois Department of Public Health/IDPH)
  • In the United States, overdose death is the leading cause of fatality for people under the age of 50.
  • In 2015, an estimated 1,472 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with HIV in Illinois. Illinois ranked 6th among the 50 states in the number of HIV diagnoses in 2015. It is expected that this data will increase significantly without additional strategic and aggressive public health interventions. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  • In 2015, IDPH reported a 200% increase in Hepatitis C prevalence among 15-29 year olds, and a rate of 38 HIV disease diagnoses per every 100,00 people with 42% of new cases affecting people under age 30.
  • According to Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, the Chicago Metropolitan Area ranks highest for both emergency department mentions for heroin and number of individuals who were arrested and tested positive for heroin. The state of Illinois is the 3rd worst state in the country for funding treatment for opioid use disorder.

“Harm Reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users “where they’re at,”addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.”

– The Harm Reduction Coalition

General goals of harm reduction:

  • Reduce the spread of infections such as HIV & Hep C
  • Reduce risky drug use
  • Prevent drug overdose deaths
  • Provide honest drug education
  • Increase user’s’ contact with services and treatment

Harm reduction strategies Live4Lali promotes:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Needle and syringe exchange
  • Overdose reversal kits (Naloxone/Narcan)
  • Information distribution
  • Peer outreach
  • Drug policy reform
  • Safe consumption facilities

For information about accessing Live4Lali’s harm reduction services contact Laura Fry at [email protected] or 844.584.5254 x803.