Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was in Eugene Thursday to learn about life-saving services available through HIV Alliance. She toured the facility and met privately with a client who told her how an overdose reversal drug recently saved a friend.
Rosenblum’s office is responsible for a legal settlement with a drug company that resulted in grants to fund the Naloxone Distribution Project. Naloxone can stop a person from dying of an opioid overdose.
The Attorney General’s tour started in the HIV Alliance mobile unit. Before they acquired the van, staff would set up card tables on street corners with condoms, clean syringes, toothpaste, even dog food for pets. Today, outreach workers are able to travel to where they are most needed. Last year, HIV Alliance destroyed over 600,000 dirty needles.
Chelsea Swift is the Syringe Exchange Coordinator. She stands beside an upper body dummy and demonstrates how to deal with an opioid overdose. Swift says sometimes, assistance with breathing could be enough. When it’s not—a shot of Naloxone can be a live saver.
Swift: “The fact that a lot of our clients are not aware that the Good Samaritan Law exists and that they are protected from calling 911 when their friend or their acquaintance is potentially dying has been a really meaningful conversation to facilitate.
Swift told Rosenblum the day she found out they got Naloxone funding was the best day in her job. The Attorney General responded.
Rosenblum: “We travel around the state and we try to address public health issues that relate to the legal system and we will continue to do that. So let us know where there are other programs that you would suggest as well.”
Listen to the KLCC radio http://klcc.org/post/rosenblum-lauds-hiv-alliance-services-eugene
Credit: Tiffany Eckert
Copyright 2015 HIV Alliance.
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