Less than a week after the Eureka City Council voted 3-2 to temporarily ban syringe exchange programs within city limits, the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR) has announced plans to offer the services in question just outside city limits. 

“The time for compromises is over,” HACHR declared in a scathing press release issued the day after the special meeting. “We are going to do everything we can to get syringes to those who need them.” 

As promised, in a new release issued Monday night, HACHR says starting Wednesday its staff will park at city limits to provide syringe pick-up to its clients, though it declined to give a specific location it would operate at. The Outpost reached out to HACHR Executive Director Lasara Firefox Allen to inquire where they planned to be. “We will find spots and move as needed,” they replied. “But the best way for participants to find out where we are will be to call the main number.”

Why does Allen anticipate needing to move? “We will move so as not to be a nuisance in any particular spot and in order to meet our participants.”

Read HACHR’s latest release below: 

In an effort to serve our population to the best of our ability, and to reduce community vulnerability to and risk of future HIV and Hep C spikes, HACHR staff will park at city limits and offer syringe services via pick-up as per our authorization with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) beginning on December 16, 2020. We will also continue SEP services and outreach in Arcata and other parts of Humboldt County. Though it was not explicitly restricted in the resolution, HACHR will not be offering safer smoking kits or safer snorting kits (both CDPH-endorsed harm reduction tools) at the 3rd Street location, but will continue offering these supplies via the pick-up locations along with syringes, cookers, and all other safer use equipment.

All other HACHR services, including  overdose prevention, medication assisted treatment (MAT) through Bright Heart Health, hygiene kits, wound care and disease prevention, and access to grab and go food and drinks, phone charging stations, warm clothing, and more will continue at 1522 3rd Street. We will continue to staff our 3rd Street location during our regular open hours —Monday 11-1 and Tuesday and Thursday 10-2— and will be serving our program participants a holiday meal on Christmas Eve, as usual.

To locate a pick-up spot or schedule syringe services outside the city of Eureka call HACHR’s direct line at (707) 407-6013 during open hours. For all other needs, please visit 1522 3rd Street.

Moving forward, we ask you, our community members and supporters, to continue putting pressure on the city council in order to restore SEP services within the City of Eureka. Write letters to the editor. Talk to your neighbors, friends and family members about harm reduction and how essential it is for the health of our community. We continue to be grateful for your support.