Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jimi - Needle Exchange & HIV Prevention Specialist

Jimmi - Needle Exchange & HIV Prevention  (c) Kelly Doering / Stick Peole ProductionsSince 2006,  Jimmi and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) have been doing overdose prevention training and Naloxone distribution. Naloxone temporarily blocks the opiate receptors in the brain, allowing for the overdose period to pass. It is what EMT's carry in case of an opiate (heroin, morphine, oxycodone. etc..) overdose. Since beginning of the program, there have been 581 reported overdose saves from individual's using the Naloxone (brand name Narcan) to save their friends. There have been 102 lives saved in just the first 6 months of 2011 alone. By giving the drug users Naloxone and training on its use, it saves lives, time and money.

Needle exchange is also an important aspect to saving lives and reducing the spread of blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV from sharing of dirty needles with other users. James also distributes safer sex packets and harm reduction kits to further reduce the spread of HIV and other STIs. Many believe that providing this type of service promotes continued drug use and risky behavior, but given their addiction, a user will find ways to use whether they have access to clean needles or not. The benefit is lives saved, reduced spread of HIV and other STIs, reduced medical costs and burden on public services.