New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE)
New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) is a 501(c)3 non-profit social services organization devoted to promoting the health, safety and well-being of marginalized, low-income persons who use drugs, their loved ones and their communities using a harm reduction modality. This is a population that includes a large number of individuals that rely on commercial and survival sex for basic subsistence, people recently released from New York State and City correctional facilities, as well as a significant number of individuals who identify as LGBTQ or are engaged in same-sex relationships. Almost sixty percent (60%) of individuals accessing NYHRE services in the last year are actively injecting drugs and one hundred percent (100%) of NYHRE participants are currently using drugs or are at risk of relapse.
NYHRE recognizes the historical, structural, socio-economic and environmental inequalities that foster adverse outcomes among drug users, particularly those from communities of color. Vigorously advocating for social justice, we strive to redress these disparities by providing vital resources, tools and support that enhance quality of life and facilitate the prevention of diseases disproportionately affecting persons who use drugs, including HIV and viral hepatitis. To this end, we deliver integrated health and social services that promote physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellness. Utilizing a grass roots approach, we prioritize peer involvement in all aspects of our programming.
NYHRE originally began in the late 1980’s as a grassroots underground needle exchange program run by ACT UP and other activists to respond to the health emergency created by the AIDS epidemic and the failure of the government and existing service providers to provide sterile injection equipment to drug injectors, who were being disproportionately infected and affected by HIV. Originally called the “Bronx/Harlem Needle Exchange”, in July 1992 we became one of the first illegal syringe exchange groups to become legal under a waiver of the drug paraphernalia laws by the State of New York and received our first funding from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR) and later the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute, which remains one of our current funders.
Syringe exchange and low-threshold education and outreach remain central to NYHRE’s mission. We have pioneered a grassroots street-side service delivery model in which the majority of our services are delivered out of mobile vans, on sidewalks and under tents at more than 10 street-side service delivery sites across East Harlem and the South Bronx in addition to services delivered in our offices in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx and in East Harlem. Last year alone, we provided 29,605 non-syringe services to 5,612 unique individuals.
Other services have been added on, over time, in response to requests from participants who wanted access to drug treatment, support groups, case management, mental health services, HIV prevention counseling and holistic health treatments. Given that most of our services are provided on the streets and in communities where our target populations live, our low threshold program engages these disenfranchised people and their partners who are using drugs. All services are offered on a walk-in, first-come, first-serve basis at our Bronx and East Harlem offices.
NYHRE’s programs include:
• Syringe exchange
• Outreach and health education
• Case Management
• Mental Health Services
• Voluntary Placement in drug detoxification and drug treatment programs
• Individual and group-level risk reduction counseling based on motivational interviewing and goal-setting
• HIV counseling, testing and connection to care
• Evidenced-based HIV risk reduction interventions (Proyecto ANIMO for Spanish-language dominant participants, YO-HOMIE), Comprehensive Risk Counseling (CRCS)
• Treatment adherence and other support/educational groups
• Hepatitis C (HCV) counseling, testing and connection to care
• Hepatitis A/B and flu vaccinations
• Acupuncture and holistic health services
• Referrals for medical and dental needs
• Overdose prevention training and distribution of overdose reversal kits
• Advocacy around housing and social services-related needs
Visit our website for more info.