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Heroin addiction is an epidemic in our country and right here in Humboldt County. But what can be done to combat this addiction that plagues communities time and time again? The Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction is one of many organizations that believes safe access to clean syringes is the first step.

The center provides overdose prevention, health and drug use education, general support and syringe access services. That means intravenous drug users can discard of used syringes and get new ones.

This year the center has given out more than 203,000 syringes and collected over 175,000, leaving them with an 86 percent return rate — which is 36 percent above the state average.

In this LoCO Video Report we talk with the center’s executive director, Brandie Wilson, to understand the many benefits of this type of service, and how it’s critical to help prevent the spread of disease.

She says, “We are doing our jobs and doing a good job. But It’s important that people understand this isn’t a moral issue. This is a matter of health care.”

In addition, the center is accepting warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, etc, to help the people it serves have a better life during the cold winter months.