SUPERsizzlin’STORIES: Lewiston police tell Church of the Safe Injection to halt needle distribution

FIRST: After you check out this article, let me know your thoughts. The man responsible for this daring, unique project, Jesse Harvey, fellow peer recovery coach, is definitely passionate, to say the absolute least. I’m not saying that I am against what he is doing here either, nor am I saying that he hasn’t already done some wonderful, brilliant work already with his sober homes for drug addicts who are also financially strapped or looking to get clean via MAT programs.

A mobile needle exchange program will halt the distribution of sterile needles in Lewiston after the city’s Police Department told the program’s founder to stop or risk being charged with a misdemeanor.

Even so, Jesse Harvey says the visits will continue and he will continue to hand out free naloxone — an opioid overdose antidote — and other items meant to help combat the state’s opioid crisis.

The program, which Harvey calls the Church of Safe Injection, has hosted mobile needle exchange sites in Lewiston every few weeks on Spruce Street across from Kennedy Park, operating out of back of a Honda hatchback. The next visit is slated for Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. and will run for about 90 minutes, Harvey said.

The program, which started in late summer, has hosted events in Lewiston, Biddeford, Caribou and Bangor, and operates in a legal gray area, public health experts say.
Church of Safe Injection
Maine law prohibits people from distributing sterile hypodermic needles, but Maine health agency rules support “secondary exchange” programs that allow people to take more needles than they will personally use and distribute them to others who may need them. Harvey is designated as a “secondary exchange” recipient for needle exchange programs in Portland and Bangor.

Although he calls the program a church and has described syringes and naloxone as its “body and blood,” Harvey does not consider himself to be a religious leader. He said he hopes to attain nonprofit status with the IRS. The program began with less than $1,000 in funding and received supplies worth another $1,000 from a donor Harvey has declined to identify.

Check out the rest of this very revealing article here


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