Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is a culturally diverse, community-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, HCV and other drug-related harm among injection drug users and the community. Using a harm reduction philosophy, the center provides programs that are based on the nonjudgmental acceptance of drug users evidence-based health science and human rights.

We accomplish this goal by offering practical strategies ranging from safer use to abstinence. In this supportive environment, we provide safe injection equipment, information on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, risk reduction strategies, and safer sex practices, mental health services, case management, and overdose prevention. Ultimately, we aim to enhance the long-term well-being of our drug users and the community.

“I must acknowledge the profound effect my time here at LESHRC has had on the direction of my life. Thank you so much.” – LESHRC Participant

“My association with LESHRC has literally saved my life. ” – LESHRC Participant

The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center uses outcomes-oriented, evidence-based, best-practice models of service provision in a culturally competent manner. All services are provided in both English and Spanish. We are located at 25 Allen Street New York, NY 10002. Please call us at (212) 226-6333. Please visit us on the web at www.leshrc.org.

Social Work Services
: Our Psychiatric Social Workers are licensed professionals who provide one-on-one psychotherapy, psychosocial assessments, treatment planning, crisis intervention, group counseling, and referrals.

Psychiatric Services and Psychopharmacology Dr. Leonardo Vando is a Board Certified psychiatrist. He offers individual counseling, psychiatric evaluations, and psychopharmacology as well as medication management, monitoring and adherence. Buprenorphine (Suboxone), a prescription-only alternative treatment to Methadone, is also available.

Case Management: LESHRC case managers provide concrete needs assessment, individual counseling, coordination of health services, facilitation of treatment plans, crisis intervention, referrals, escorts and advocacy reduce barriers to services.

Substance Use Counseling helps participants assess their substance use and is provided to active users in all stages of use and/or recovery. Our counselors provide individual and group substance use counseling, referrals and escorts to substance use treatment such as detoxification and rehabilitation services, when requested. When Buprenorphine (Suboxone) treatment is prescribed the substance use counselor works closely with our psychiatrist by assisting the participant to adjust to this medication and monitoring adherence.

Access to Care: Specialized, intensive, broad-based case management is offered to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness or personality disorders resulting in severe functional impairments who have avoided or not responded well to traditional outpatient mental health care and psychiatric rehabilitation services. Persons served by ACT often have co-existing problems such as homelessness, substance abuse problems, or involvement with the justice system.

Housing Support Services: Scholarly research shows that stable housing promotes positive health outcomes for people living with HIV / AIDS and other chronic diseases. We therefore offer housing placement and retention services, including housing assessments, advocacy and escorts to fair hearings before housing court, and intervention with landlords and tenant associations to prevent evictions.

Syringe Exchange Program: In order to reduce the spread of disease and reduce harm among intra-venous drug users, sterile needles, other supplies (e.g. tourniquets, cookers, bleach kits, safer sex supplies), and abscess prevention materials are available on a free and confidential basis to registered participants of our program.

Health Services: Urgent care, primary care, immunizations, physical examinations, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, Hepatitis C testing and counseling, abscess care, and more are available both by appointment and on a drop-in basis, free of charge.

Overdose prevention program features overdose response training and access to Narcan/Naloxone. By the end of the training, individuals can to identify risk factors for overdose, recognize signs of an overdose, perform techniques to stimulate someone who appears to have overdosed, correctly perform rescue breathing, and correctly administer Naloxone.
This informative training can reverse the affects of an overdose and save lives!

Positive Action Peer Education Program has trained over 200 participants for employment or volunteer work in the community. This program prepares participants for work opportunities they might not have had otherwise. As a direct result of the program, many graduates are now employed full time in various social service organizations.

Street Smart is a youth-focused HIV/AIDS and STD prevention intervention. The program teaches youth safer sexual practices and substance use resistance and reduction. Topics addressed in the group sessions include coping and negotiation skills, assertiveness, problem-solving, identifying and addressing personalized risk behaviors, decision-making and reducing harmful behaviors including drug and alcohol use.
Wellness Services: LESHRC offers Ear Point Acupuncture, Reiki and Yoga as adjuncts to traditional medical modalities.

Nutrition Services: Community Meals are provided on the last Friday of every month. All participants are welcome to share a meal with other participants and interact with our staff; Snack Program: This program is geared towards participants in crisis, living on the street or in shelters; Friday Breakfast: Breakfast is offered every Friday morning.

Drop In Center: Also known as the engagement center, the Drop-In Space creates a relaxing and safe environment for participants. The Drop-In Space was created by and for our diverse membership. A wide range of activities are offered on a daily basis.

Outreach / Volunteer Program: Founded as a volunteer initiative, LESHRC continues to rely on volunteers for assistance and programmatic support. Our volunteer program trains individuals to conduct syringe exchange, assemble prevention packets, and deliver education and resources to the community.
Collaborations: Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center partners with a wide array of organizations and government agencies. The following are a few examples:
• New York University and Columbia University provides LESHRC with social work interns each year. These interns offer critical mental health services for our clients as the interns increase their skills and abilities as social service providers.
• Queensboro Correctional Facility and Rikers Island provides client referrals and hosts LESHRC staff for educational workshops.
• Gay and Lesbian Community Center hosts LESHRC staff for substance use support groups specifically for the transgender community
• Puerto Rican Family Institute accepts seamless referrals for mental health services for Spanish-speaking clients and their families.
• Housing Works accepts seamless referrals from LESHRC staff for clients who are homeless, unstably housed, or seeking to retain current housing.

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center’s (LESHRC) programs are evidence-based models of programming built on industry-accepted best practices using an outcomes management model. Some highlights of LESHRC’s 2011 program year include:

• In 2011, LESHRC served 2,715 individuals
• A total of 436 participants engaged in 2297 CM sessions over the course of the year and were assisted with the following entitlements: HASA and other housing benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, Veteran’s benefits, food stamps, SSI, SSD, public assistance, VESID, and immigration services, including Permanently Residing Under Color of Law (PRUCOL.)
• Enrolled 681 new participants in our syringe exchange program which reduced the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, and reduced injection drug use-related injuries
• Conducted 418 HIV tests which also allowed staff to engage individuals in other harm reduction strategies and educational sessions
• 85% of homeless or unstably housed clients who were placed in safe, affordable and appropriate housing retained their housing placement
• 135 individuals received Buprenorphine (Suboxone – an alternative to Methadone) treatment and remained drug-free as proven by random on-site drug testing
• 360 Naloxone trainings were completed and 31 reversals were induced.
• 234,399 clean syringes were distributed and 188,373 contaminated syringes were collected. We have also acquired a kiosk from the city dept of health that will be permanently placed outside in order to collect more contaminated syringes

Visit our website for more info.