COVID has prevented some people with drug addiction from getting help

QC Harm Reduction says COVID-19 protocols and expired relief measures have hit some of the most vulnerable in Quad Cities hard.

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Dealing with a drug crisis during a global pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for a local nonprofit in the Quad Cities.

Laura Rodriguez of QC Harm Reduction says they try to provide for people who struggle to get up while battling drug addiction. His team collects personal care items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner.

“The goal is simply to maintain the dignity of our homeless neighbors,” says the project director. “There are so many people out on the streets with no place to go, even a change of clothes.”

Rodriguez said that a month ago, emergency motel housing for those affected by COVID-19 ran out. Now, some people with addictions are left on the streets.

“You look at the kind of desperation that people face,” she says. “You don’t even have to look at the numbers. Just look around the community and see people struggling, everywhere.”

Rodriguez says communities of color and people facing poverty suffer the greatest impacts, as well as the results of the war on drugs.

Despite this, president and co-founder Kim Brown said he distributed more Narcan to the community last year than in 2019.

She says it’s a good sign that people are getting educated and knowing how to use the anti-overdose drug. She adds that this has been their big push throughout the pandemic.

“The services and resources generally available to community members when they need them were very difficult to access in 2020,” she says. “People were behind doors, they were behind computers, they were behind phones and they weren’t outside and caring for people who needed care.”

Nationally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a 27% increase in calls to its hotline from 2019 to 2020. And the overdose mapping application program estimated an increase of 17%. % of suspected overdoses immediately after placing home care orders. Last year; a link between isolation and addiction.

“Based on how many people have lost their jobs, sort of, extrapolating from that, it leads to something else and a snowball effect,” Rodriguez says.

QC Harm Reduction accepts donations to help people in the community. You can learn to donate personal care items and even tents on her Facebook page.

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