Since the problems of drug use and homelessness are intertwined, many activists trying to get more people off the streets have taken up the cause of harm reduction. Essentially, this means trying to repeal policies and laws that are harmful to people experiencing homelessness, including those living with drug or alcohol addiction.
The current issue of “Healing Hands”, a publication produced by the Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network, is devoted to harm reduction. And the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Street Medicine program is prominently featured. This program is part of a nationwide network of medical outreach teams across the country who go into homeless communities to deliver what Director Brett Feldman calls “full-service primary care.”
In Los Angeles, he and his team do everything from dispensing medication to drawing blood for labs, and they also try to get homeless people into housing and recovery programs. Street medicine programs are seen as a key solution to the monumental effort to reduce rates of homelessness and addiction.
The editors of “Healing Hands” describe the unique approach of street medicine programs everywhere. Click here to read the full newsletter.
— Landon Hall