Needle exchange program aims to help addiction recovery

Michigan

In a battle with drugs and addiction, where do you go when you have nowhere to turn?
In Jackson, that place is JXN Harm Reduction at Reed Manor apartments. It’s a place where you can talk to people like Laura Stephens for help.

“When you are caught up in use that is this deep, and this deadly it’s really hard to get out of it. So when they are walking through our doors that’s a huge step on their part to start their pathway to recovery,” said JXN Harm Reduction team member, Laura Stephens.

The program helps provide clean needles, and other supplies, and education for safer use for people struggling.

However, the needles are only one small part of the story. For the team, it’s all about the relationships they build, and the stories they keep hearing of people finding their way home, and onto a path of recovery. 

“He kept getting knocked down every chance that he got. We started at the shelter giving him clean needles, and then it wasn’t about the clean needles. It was about that he kept coming to us, and so then when he kept coming to us we kept slowly getting to know his story,” said JXN Harm Reduction board member, Tracie Jo Sutliff.

The group is working with about 80 people with nine of them currently in treatment. In the last year, JXN Harm Reduction has reversed more than 60 overdoses. 

Their main goal is to let people know that they are not alone.

“We’re not here to judge. We know your situation. We’ve heard the stories a million times over, and there is always this common theme of what you are going through many others have gone through too. We want to see your recovery. We want to see your victory just as much as you do, and we are here for you,” said local pastor and JXN Harm Reduction Board member, Jamin Bradley.

For the man that kept getting knocked down, today his story is different.

“Three months later we got this text with this picture of him that was amazing that said thank you Jackson Harm Reduction for saving my life,” said Sutliff.

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