Clayton Ruley of Prevention Point explained the organization’s approach to dealing with the problems of drug abuse. Harm Reduction is a set of public health strategies designed to reduce the negative consequences of drug use and to promote healthy individuals and communities without necessarily reducing drug use.
The strategy of this program is improved health through access to sterile syringes, safer injection supplies, medical supports, legal supports, and social service supports. The idea is to use a non-judgmental approach in working with drug addicts and sex workers. There are currently 11 weekly exchanges and access sites, both site-based and mobile. Services are not “forced” onto clients. The cost of supplying the supplies is infinitely less than the cost of treating HIV-positive individuals and those with hepatitis C.
Statistics indicate a significant decrease in cases of HIV among drug users in Philadelphia, suggesting positive results for the program.