GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A newer syringe exchange program in Guilford County aims to make it easier for people who need the service to use it.
GCSTOP, or Guilford County Solution To The Opioid Problem, offers syringe exchange services through delivery. That means a team will bring supplies and help you need to your home or wherever you might be.
"I think a lot of people don't even know that there's help available to them," says Chase Holleman, Program Navigator for GCSTOP. "Either because of their insurance status or just really have no idea. Personally I had no idea that people got well when I was using. I don't think a lot of people do."
Holleman is in recovery and spends a lot of his time helping others try to do the same. He and his team are the ones who will bring the syringe exchange to you. But it's more than that. Holleman says they follow-up with anyone that's been referred to them. A lot of the time referrals come from EMS after a person has overdosed. The easiest way to get help through this program is to call or text (336) 505-8122.
Holleman says they've received about 160 referrals so far and have been able to connect with 80 of them and have gotten 20 people into treatment. He thinks they're making a positive impact, but it all starts with building trust and a relationship.
"I think people are mostly afraid of arrest and for good reason," Holleman explains. "Always suspicious of both law enforcement and health providers because traditionally drug users have been treated very poorly. The first visit and first contact is all about building rapport, establishing trust and a relationship with that person and assuring their safety."
GCSTOP started in 2018 with a one time allocation from the state. Holleman hopes to continue the program with more funding and more people.
Other outreach happens throughout the week but the mobile syringe exchange services are available Mondays from 1-4 p.m. and Fridays from 4-7 p.m. To set up an appointment or if you need any help, you can call or text (336) 505-8122.