Meeting people where they are at is something you hear a lot of people involved in harm reduction say about their work, and the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery (MoNetwork) has a unique way of doing that.
Harm reduction is the practice of providing people with substance use disorder with the knowledge and resources to minimize the negative effects that can come with drug use. The Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery follows a hybrid model center where they offer recovery support for people who want to become sober and by providing services for people who are actively using.
The Recovery Community Center also offers other services to the community like employment assistance, acupuncture and different narcotics anonymous programs to name a few.
Cheryl Strahm is a nursing instructor at St. Louis Community College and a volunteer with Hope for Tomorrow doing street outreach. On Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, Strahm was offering wound care for people coming into the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery. She became involved with helping people with substance use disorder after her daughter overdosed at her home and physicians at the hospital did not offer treatment, but told her to go to rehab.
One obstacle in the way for Mo Netowrk and other harm reduction organizations like them is that needle exchange programs are illegal in Missouri. As of Summer 2019, a bill that would allow needle exchanges was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill was never signed into law.
In order to reach people that do not have access to transportation to the Recovery Community Center, peer support specialist Miles Hoffman drives an ambulance that has been converted to bring harm reduction services to different parts of St. Louis city.