Teija’s Enterprise Update

This week I am preparing for my enterprise story. This story will examine HIV, drug use, and the needle exchange as a public health issue in downtown Springfield. Currently, the HIV Alliance runs a needle exchange program in Glenwood where people who inject drugs can exchange their dirty needles for clean ones. The HIV Alliance also provides health services to these people. The needle exchange is important to stop the spread of HIV. Currently the program is not allowed to operate within Springfield, though there is a collection box for dirty needles. This story will explore why the program is not allowed in Springfield, and will include a variety of viewpoints on the needle exchange. So far I plan to interview a coordinator in the needle exchange, a doctor who volunteers at the needle exchange, the Springfield police, and possibly a volunteer at the exchange who used to inject drugs, but overcame her addiction. I plan to observe the needle exchange, which will most likely be the scene I begin my story with. I was not able to find any material written on the exchange in Springfield, though I did see some information on drug use.

This week I hope to set up three interviews. I plan to interview the doctor, the HIV Alliance needle exchange coordinator, and either a member of the Springfield police or the volunteer. I may also go the needle exchange this week, which happens every Thursday. I also need to do more research on commonly injected drugs, the spread of HIV, and statistics in Springfield. So far I have not found a whole lot of statistics specific to Springfield. I’ve been searching the Oregon.gov website, but maybe I’m not looking in the right places. I did see that there has been a drop in heroin-related deaths, but a rise in methamphetamine-related deaths. Both of these drugs can be injected. I think the topic of this story will make it challenging, but I’m excited to cover it!

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