There are only seven harm reduction centers in all of New Jersey. Only one serves the people of Atlantic City and the surrounding areas.
These centers provide life-saving care, providing nursing services, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, naloxone, and referrals to drug treatment, in addition to access to sterile syringes. Decades of research have shown this approach is good for public health.
So why did the Atlantic City Council vote last night to close the city’s only harm reduction center?
After nearly 3 hours of public testimony—the overwhelming majority of which was in favor of keeping the center open—the Council voted 7-2 to authorize its closure anyway.
Services like Atlantic City’s harm reduction program are particularly important for LGBTQ+ people, who are more likely than the general population to use drugs.
Harm reduction centers provide care that reduces rates of transmission for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other bloodborne illnesses. In fact, the Atlantic City center is run by South Jersey AIDS Alliance, which has been on the front lines of the fight against HIV/AIDS for more than 35 years.
Help us let the Atlantic City Council know that LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans are disappointed in this vote, and we won’t let the harm reduction center go without a fight.
Featured image courtesy of NJ.com