Six months ago, First District Health Unit in Minot established a used needle drop off outside its building.
To date, more than 4,000 needles have been disposed of.
It’s part of the Good Neighbor Project, a syringe-exchange program started in 2018 in which active IV drug users bring their used needles to the facility in exchange for clean ones.
The lead nurse for the program says the original goal for the number of participants was 25, and now two years later they have over 100.
She also says staff have seen success in disease prevention, which is the main goal of the program.
“We test everybody for HIV and Hep-C when they enroll and then we test them every six months per CDC guidelines for HIV and Hepatitis-C and everybody who tested negative when they started has not converted over to having either of the diseases and that’s our main goal,” Minot Nursing Coordinator of the Good Neighbor Project said.
The Good Neighbor Project has also branched out into community education.
Staff offers free courses on the use of different forms of Narcan, a medication that can treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency.
One instructor says it’s also a way for employers and family to address the tough topic of addiction.
“Addiction is kind of really difficult to talk about actually so, kind of having a safe space for a conversation where community members can learn OK this is how I can help these people and help family members who or whoever in your life,” First District Health Prevention Outreach Coordinator Heidi Glesmann said.
Glesmann says the next in-person course will be August 20.