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Medical Clinic to Serve Injection Drug Users


   ACR Health has a medical clinic to provide health care for injection drug users, including the 2,500 individuals currently enrolled in ACR Health’s Syringe Exchange Program (SEP).  The Safety First Medical Clinic was established through a five-year $150,000 per year grant from New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.  In addition to the state grant, Nobel Health Services, Inc. provided a $20,000 grant for general support.  
   Clients do not have to be enrolled in ACR Health’s SEP to participate, but must be classified as an injection drug user.  Examples, in addition to illegal substances, are steroids, insulin, or hormones.  Clinic patients are screened by Nurse Practitioners for Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases, and will receive preventative care.  
  Injection drug users often suffer from untreated abscesses on their skin where they inject heroin, they go without treatment because they are reluctant to engage with the healthcare system.  “It takes time and trust to develop a relationship with an active substance user,” said Erin Bortel, Director of Prevention.  “They feel safe with us and will more likely use the clinic, which is a stepping stone to permanent healthcare.”
    
   The Safety First Medical Clinic will be open Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday afternoons 12:30-4:30 p.m. and on Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Injection Drug Users will always be prioritized for service, based on our funding guidelines.