Alaska presents a unique challenge for access to harm reduction services; prior to 2016 only 3 urban SAPs serviced the state, which includes over 200 tribal villages spread over 650,000 square miles. Since then, innovative strategies such as a local volunteer run syringe access program (SAP) in Homer, a SAP at a rural tribal medical clinic in Bethel, and a mail order tribal harm reduction program out of Anchorage, have greatly expanded access to services throughout the state. Additionally, rural medical clinics offer a critical access point for patients who use drugs to access medications and services to reduce risks and improve their health. This webinar reviewed the barriers to accessing harm reduction services in rural areas, and the strengths and opportunities rural communities have to offer in the development of new harm reduction programs.
Presented by Sarah Spencer, DO, FASAM