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Locally and Nationally, the Opioid Crisis has made headlines. Overdose deaths are on the increase and statistics are sobering.

More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdose in 2017, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids—a 2-fold increase in a decade. New HCV (Hepatitis C) infection rates (41,000 in 2016) are three times what they were in 2010. (CDC/Positively Aware)

But, there has been progress in preventing new HIV infections as a result of injection drug use, with 40% of new infections coming from IDU in 1990, but only 6% as recently as 2015. (Positively Aware)

It’s about Syndemics, the intersection of HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose.

Samaritan Ministry is engaged in this crisis in several important ways:

1) We are providing HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) education in our community. In 2018 we reached 600 with HCV education in 22 separate presentations.

2) We are providing HIV and Hepatitis C testing, counseling, and referral. In 2018 we tested 770 individuals using rapid HCV antibody technology with a 32% positivity rate.

3) We are providing life-saving Naloxone to our community through local partnerships.

4) Samaritan Ministry supports three Syringe Services Programs in East Tennessee.

Do you want to know how to help someone? We suggest a good read in an article just published in the Jan.-Feb. 2019 Edition of Positively Aware. You can read it here.

And the TENNESSEE REDLINE is available for immediate assistance for those needing help. 1-800-889-9789