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Ban the Box to Increase Tax Revenue and Reduce Crime

Ban the Box to Increase Tax Revenue and Reduce Crime

For 1.6 million North Carolinians, the worst part of job searching is not the interview, but the moment they drop off the application. Nearly every employment application contains a small box on the front page that reads, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” By marking that box, applicants with a criminal record, no matter how old or irrelevant the crime, are effectively checking away their chance at a job. To increase tax revenue and reduce the likelihood that formerly incarcerated people will return to a life of crime, North Carolina needs to ban that box.

Why North Carolina Needs Syringe Decriminalization

What a used syringe looks like

Why North Carolina Needs Syringe Decriminalization

It’s time for North Carolina to do something about its heroin problem. Over the past 6 years, state heroin use rates have more than tripled. More heroin means more injection drug use. More injection drug use means more syringes that could harm children, police officers and the community by transmitting viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Regardless of whether you choose to use drugs, what happens to those syringes affects all of us. To protect the health and safety of North Carolinians, the state needs to decriminalize syringes. Syringe decriminalization, or removing syringes from the list of items considered drug paraphernalia, lowers the incidence of accidental needle-stick injury to law enforcement and the public, decreases the transmission of blood borne viruses, and allows for safe disposal of used syringes.

Winston Salem Police Department works to protect officers from needlestick injuries

Winston Salem Police Department Works to Protect Officers from Needlestick Injuries
Interview by Tessie Castillo, NCHRC Program and Advocacy Coordinator

On December 1, 2013 a law went into effect in North Carolina that protects law enforcement from accidental needlestick injury and potential exposure to HIV and hepatitis C during searches. HB850/Needlestick Prevention law states that a person cannot be prosecuted for possession of a syringe or other sharp object if the object is declared to a law enforcement officer prior to search. The law was designed after a survey of officers from 67 departments in NC revealed the majority of law enforcement were concerned about needlestick injury and supported a syringe decriminalization law in order to prevent it. But now that the law is in effect, are law enforcement actually using it to protect themselves? And how are they handling the issues of drug residue that is left in a used syringe? I spoke with Sgt David Rose at the Winston Salem Police Department to find out how his department is moving forward to protect officers from needle stick injury.

NC Harm Reduction’s Overdose Prevention Project – A Look Back at the First Year

NCHRC’s Overdose Prevention Project – A Look Back at the First Year

This August 1st 2014 marks one year since the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) officially launched the Overdose Prevention Project (OPP). The OPP focuses on the dual goals of educating the public on overdose prevention and response and providing overdose prevention kits containing naloxone, a medication that reverses drug overdose from opioids such as methadone, heroin, and prescription painkillers.

With opioid overdose fatalities claiming over 1000 lives a year in North Carolina and slated to become the state’s leading cause of unintentional injury death by 2017, it is necessary to implement a common sense solution to the problem. Enter, naloxone, a medication simple and easy enough to be administered even by people with no medical training. In one short year NCHRC’s naloxone program has grown from a handful of distributors to over 20 volunteer dispensers in 16 counties across the state.

2014 HIV Advocacy Conference Coming to Winston Salem

2014 North Carolina HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference
When: Sept. 6, 2014, Winston-Salem, NC
What: 2014 North Carolina HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference
When: Sept. 6, 2014,
Where: Winston-Salem State University, F.L. Atkins School of Health Sciences
Address: 601 South Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Winston-Salem NC 27110

Meet fellow advocates, network, and learn! The conference is free of charge and includes lunch. Preregistration is required.

The annual North Carolina HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference brings together hundreds of North Carolinians for a full-day program of educational programming, advocacy training, and opportunities for networking. Hosted by the North Carolina AIDS Action Network and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.

NC Student Overdose Awareness Events to be Held March 2014

NC Student Overdose Awareness Events to be Held March 2014

On Tuesday, March 4th and Wednesday, March 5th, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) will be holding Student Overdose Awareness Day events on college campuses across the state. Students, faculty, officers, counselors, and advocates will gather to learn more about overdose prevention and receive naloxone rescue kits free of charge from NCHRC, a grassroots public health non-profit.

Recovery Organization Meets People Where They Are At

Get To Know Your Southern Harm Reduction Heroes: Gerald Scott

by Andi DeRoin

At the beginning of 2014, I sat down with Gerald Scott, co-founder and executive director of the Asheville Recovery Group (ARG). Mr. Scott was kind enough to share about his career experiences with harm reduction and the recovery movement, especially the unique sober living environment offered at ARG. Read on to learn how the passage of the Senate Bill 20 has affected recovery in North Carolina.

Q. Can you tell me about how the recovery movement and harm reduction intersect?

For us, the idea of harm reduction is very broad, and the people who come to our agency have already run the gamut of substance use or alcohol use. We serve the segment of the population who have already decided that they cannot do this successfully and they need help. Our clients don’t know how to keep that sobriety commitment to themselves.

NC Harm Reduction Coalition’s Overdose Prevention Program Shows Successful Impact, Receives National Attention

NC Harm Reduction Coalition’s Overdose Prevention Program Shows Successful Impact, Receives National Attention

The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is saving lives and bringing overdose victims back from the brink of death with its community-based Overdose Prevention Program (OPP). On April 9th, 2013, North Carolina passed one of the most comprehensive drug overdose prevention laws in the country called the “911 Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Bill.” Also known as SB20, NCHRC which advocated for this bill’s passage, quickly acted to disseminate and implement this life-saving law. The OPP provides free overdose reversal kits and training to those likely to experience or witness an overdose. “Since the OPP became fully operational on August 1st, NCHRC has dispensed close to 550 overdose rescues kits, and 35 lay individuals have reported they successfully administered naloxone, the antidote for opiate overdose, and saved someone’s life,” stated NCHRC’s Executive Director Robert Childs.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance
by Loftin Wilson

On November 20th, 2013, as night falls, people all over the world will gather by candlelight and read a list of names. The people on this list lived all over the world, from Istanbul to Brazil to Florida to Wisconsin. They were of all ages, some as young as thirteen. Their lives were all very different, but they are all on this list for one reason -- sometime during the last year, each of them lost their life because of anti-transgender hate violence.

People who are transgender -- people whose gender identity or gender presentation is different from or more complex than the sex they were assigned at birth -- live all over the world, in every culture and every country. We exist in every community and every walk of life. And even though data about the lives of transgender people is consistently under- and mis-reported, it is clear that people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming (and people who are perceived to be) experience violence at disproportionate, disturbing rates. One recent analysis concluded that “the majority of transgender people will experience violence in their lifetimes, and that risk for violence starts at an early age.”

NC Harm Reduction Announces Community Based Overdose Prevention Project

NCHRC Announces Community Based Overdose Prevention Project

With a commitment to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths in North Carolina, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) has created the Overdose Prevention Project (OPP). The OPP is a legal community-based overdose prevention training and naloxone distribution program. The program provides naloxone, a safe and effective drug with no abuse potential that reverses opioid overdose, to people at high risk of overdose and those who are likely to witness such an overdose. Although the OPP will travel statewide, it will be initially focused in Asheville, the Triangle and Fayetteville.

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