Pubdate: Wed, 21 Feb 2018
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2018 The Daily News
Author: Lynn Curwin
Page: A3


Harm reduction is more than a job for Karen Kittilsen Levine. Reducing
the numbers of people dying from opioid addiction and blood-borne
disease is something she's determined to do.

"We began doing outreach in Pictou County on November 1 and have more
than 40 clients, and we're beginning outreach in Amherst within a few
days," said Kittilsen Levine, who is the harm reduction coordinator
for the Northern Healthy Connections Society.

The organization collects used needles and distributes clean ones. It
also provides condoms and information on blood-borne diseases.

"We're trying to reduce the threat of transmission of Hep C and HIV. A
lot of people aren't aware of the danger of Hep C. It's a very strong
virus, and can live in the chamber of a needle up to two months."

"More people are accessing our services. These people aren't new to
using injection drugs, it's just that we're connecting with them now."

Between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 the NHCS collected 18,973
used needles and distributed 28,773 new ones.

Between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 there were 97,743 used
needles collected and 60,638 new ones distributed.

"We're non-judgmental and built a rapport with people," said
Kittilsen Levine. "We're there when they're ready to start a
conversation about getting off opioids, and that has happened."

Something she sees as a very positive step is the provincial 'Take
Home Naloxone' program. The kits contain Naloxone, syringes, latex
gloves, a mask, and instructions. They're distributed, free of charge,
through many pharmacies, once a person completes a short training
program. A list of places where they're available is online at

Naloxone is used to reverse an overdose, keeping a person alive until
emergency help arrives.
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