In 1996, after years of drug abuse, Zoe Hansen made the courageous step to leave behind her addictions and start anew. “I remember I wasn’t able to put a coin in a slot to do my own laundry, mail out letters, or get a phone turned on. Everything was new as I was coming alive again,” she says. “I’m fortunate I was given a second chance, but I healed on my own terms.”
For many people, healing on their own terms is their most effective road to recovery—and a good option for this population is harm reduction treatment. This route is a non-invasive, multi-tiered platform that basically starts at reducing the negative effects of the drug dependent’s lifestyle. One of the most important programs in this effort is the needle exchange. Through offering intravenous drug users disease-free supplies, help is meeting them at very fundamental level by giving them an opportunity to improve their lives in a simple and non-judgmental way.
“I used to go to needle exchanges in the 1980s versus just finding them on the streets and shooting up with dirty wares. In some weird way, I was grateful they existed, and now I want to give back,” she says.