DAP Health Releases Harm Reduction Program To Provide Care For Those Struggling With Addiction

Tiani Jadulang

(Palm Springs, CA) January 18, 2022 — This Spring, DAP Health will unveil its harm reduction program that will have two components. First, Overdose prevention and secondly a Syringe Services Program (SSP) that will include health services and behavioral health support to combat the rise in preventable overdoses and the increase in new HIV cases.

The multi-layered program will focus on education for the community, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, distribution and collection of syringes and referrals to support folks through their addiction journey.

Additional services to be provided: Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death, and Fentanyl test strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose.

In the latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses during the 12-month period from April 2020 through April 2021. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm)

In Riverside County, there has been an 800 percent increase in fentanyl-related deaths since 2016, according to Rivco.org.  (https://www.rivco.org/news/riverside-county-committee-combat-fentanyl-abuse).

Palm Springs has an overdose death rate 300 percent higher than the state average.

Palm Springs Police Department Chief Andy Mills was able to review the harm reduction program and was impressed with how complete it is.

“It’s important to remember the dynamics that go into a program like this,” Mills says. “That’s what excites me. Not only is DAP Health looking at helping people, but genuinely helping people so they are not destructive to themselves or our community.”

DAP Health is only the second state certified Syringe Services Program (SSP) in Riverside County, which is the 10th most populated county in the United States.

Because of the rising numbers, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Bacerra says the federal government supports harm reduction, which includes direct support and care to people who actively struggle with substance misuse.

“DAP Health will begin deepening our relationship with people living with addiction by adding a harm reduction approach to our first-aid kit of solutions,” says C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness. “We will do this without stigma or judgment because you cannot treat someone who does not trust you. Harm reduction is an important tactic in DAP Health’s ongoing work to end the HIV epidemic.  Work that begins with meeting folks where they are.”

Education 

  • Overdose prevention
  • Safer injecting
  • Risk reduction counseling
  • Education to community partners

 

Testing 

 

  • Free HIV/HCV testing
  • Fentanyl strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose

 

Equipment 

 

  • Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death
  • Phone number and email to DAP Health for the community to report used syringes that need to be picked up and disposed of, or to request education related to harm reduction strategies at HarmReduction@DAPHealth.org or 760 992-0453.
  • New syringes and intake/dispose of used syringes
  • New injecting supplies
  • Safer sex kits
  • Safer smoking kits

 

Referrals To 

 

  • Substance use counselors
  • Outpatient Drug Free program DAP Health
  • Local recovery and treatment centers
  • DAP Health’s peer support specialist
  • Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) for anyone with HIV and/or Hepatitis C for treatment
  • Insurance enrollment and connection to health care and other social support services
  • DAP Health’s Sexual Wellness Clinic (Orange Clinic) for STI testing and/or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Food and housing
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