Southern Illinois non-profit helps lower spread of diseases through used needles

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - According to data from the CDC, diseases like HIV and different forms of Hepatitis have recently been on the rise. Experts say this is the result of opioid users sharing needles, adding another dangerous factor to the overall epidemic.

Here in the Heartland, increased rates of these diseases are apparent, particularly Hepatitis C, according to the Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department.

Some groups are already providing services to help halt the spread of diseases through sharing dirty needles, like the Community Action Place, INC. based in southern Illinois.

The service provides current addicts with clean needles, alcohol swabs, and other materials needed to indulge in these addictive practices. Additionally, they provide clients with information to help themselves, such as treatment plans for various diseases contracted through sharing needles.

Kyle Miller is a Harm Reduction Coordinator for The Community Action Place, who says the point of the service is to stop the spread of disease and try to keep people safe while they deal with their addictions.

"We can show them compassion," he said. "And we can help them make health decisions on their own without being forced to choose."

Miller says the point of the service is simply to stop the spread of disease and educate people on treatment. However, he added that once people start one healthy practice they are more likely to seek additional help in dealing with their addictions.

He says the service has been busier than normal this year, saying they've already passed their yearly average of around 100 clients for the past few years in just the first three months of 2018.

If you want to know more about the Community Action Place,  INC. click here.

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