D.C.'s Largest Needle-Exchange Provider Is Shutting Down | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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D.C.'s Largest Needle-Exchange Provider Is Shutting Down

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At the facility in Northeast D.C. there are white pamphlets plastered on all of the doors and windows listing some of the places people can go to get clean needles, but people are still coming in.

One man left the facility carrying a big paperbag full of clean syringes. He says he's stocking up for when this place closes.

"I can't understand why they cutting back this because it's so helpful," he says. "Cut back something else. This is helping people live, survive."

PreventionWorks Board of Directors says donations have dried up, long-term funding just isn't sustainable.

But Ron Harris, a former employee at the facility, says the closing signifies something much greater.

"That's a population that's not really wanted in this city anymore: drug users, HIV," he says.

Harris calls the closing a "death sentence."

Outside the facility, the man carrying the large bag of new syringes says he worries about the other addicts that come to PreventionWorks.

"A person on drugs will do almost anything to continue because they have the disease," he says.

So in the city with the highest HIV/AIDS rate in America, there will be one less safeguard against this deadly epidemic.

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