By Michael Anthony Price
Welcome to Chapa De in Auburn, California! We are super excited to be here and start working with Annie and the team at Chapa De. Last night we had dinner with Annie and went over the logistics of the trip. We were broken out into three groups, The Obstetrics groups, the Case Management group and the Native Recovery Group. These three teams would work with various practitioners at Chapa De to learn how these teams work together to provide wraparound services for patients.
On Day 1, the Native Recovery Group went to Harm Reduction Services in Sacramento. We learned about the importance of Harm Reduction Services. They assist drug users, sex workers and those with mental illness effectively with treatment and services in the community. Also, they offer risk reduction counseling and HIV and HCV testing. They promote access to health and related services to underserved populations and give out and collect syringes in a free, anonymous program.
We understand that Harm Reduction Services can be a controversial issue. Some people may feel that it condones drug use. Melinda Ruger, Director of Harm Reduction Services, gave us a response for people that feel that way. “Better is better.” Harm Reduction Services is a judgment-neutral space that meets substance abusers where they are to prevent them from becoming ill or contracting diseases. Their stance is to improve the health of those that are afflicted by substance abuse and that work requires a judgment-free space to build and maintain those relationships to improve the health of the community.