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The three-member Redevelopment Authority approved the use of a vacant city building as the site of a needle exchange program.

Needle Exchange Program Gets Final OK in North Adams

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Liz Whynott of Tapestry explains some of the services that will be provided through the needle exchange program.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tapestry Health will open a needle exchange in the city at the beginning of February.

The nonprofit health agency was given approval on Monday night by the Redevelopment Authority to operate out of 6 West Main St., a building owned by the city and formerly used by the School Department. It received approval from the Board of Health in June.

Tapestry already runs needle exchanges in Northampton and Holyoke and is in the process of opening one each in Pittsfield and Greenfield through the state Department of Public Health.

Liz Whynott, director of Tapestry's Syringe Access Program, said the office hoped to open by Feb. 1 with three full-time staff, one of whom will be the manager, under her oversight. It is expected to run Monday through Friday.

"We provide comprehensive services and our main population that we target are opioid users, mainly people that inject drugs," she said. "We want to be as low a threshold as possible. ... syringe access programs are very successful in accessing this population."

The program had initially considered operating on Main Street near the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition office's with Josh Bressette Commit To Save A Life but the city offered the use of the currently vacant building for now. Mayor Richard Alcombright,  a member of NBCC's heroin working group and the Massachusetts Municipal Association's Opiate Abuse Task Force, has been strongly supportive of efforts to address substance abuse in the city.

The walk-in clinic will be free and confidential and will offer Narcan training and availability, screenings for HIV, Hepatitis C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, and substance abuse counseling.

"We do a lot of referrals, referrals to treatment primarily, but also we do things related to health care such as if a test comes back positive," Whynott said.

Tapestry runs a reproductive health program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and will refer as needed with that program. Whynott, who was accompanied by NBCC ‎Director of Prevention and Wellness Wendy Penner, also said the program has "good relationship with all of the substance abuse treatment programs."

The opioid epidemic has taken its toll in the area with 147 deaths between 2000 and 2015, more than half since 2012. The rates of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver disease that can be spread by sharing needles, is "staggeringly high" Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative Coordinator Jennifer Kimball told the Pittsfield Board of Health in August.

Kimball at the time said about 150 new cases had been reported but fewer than half of those infected by Hepatitis C knew they had it.

Needle exchange programs are one solution to preventing the reuse of needles and bringing users into contact with services that can aid them in kicking their addiction.

Whynott said the program would likely only see a few hundred people in its first year "because it takes awhile to access the population."

The closest example to North Adams would be the Northampton program that sees about 900 unique people a year, or about 20 or 30 a month, she said, which would be more in line with program's second year here.

"This is a safe syringe disposal program that will be open to the whole community. Anybody will be able to drop off their syringes for no charge," she said. If others, like diabetics, have need of sharps, "we make sure nobody goes without syringes if they need them."

The Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved the site.

"I'm glad you're here," said authority member Kyle Hanlon. "Unfortunately, we do have a real need for your services."


Tags: needles,   Opioid abuse,   redevelopment authority,   tapestry,   

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North Adams Happenings: Oct. 23-29

SAVE THE DATE
NOVEMBER 2nd - Masquerade at Greylock WORKS
On November 2nd, three weeks before FESTIVE, come to gWorks to dance in disguise at our MASQUERADE Halloween costume party! Doors open at 8pm !
Celebrate your costume ingenuity with DJ BFG spinning seamless upbeat dance music within immersive theatrical lighting choreographed by LJ McZawa.
Whether you're coming out in a dramatic mask + your favorite party clothes or a full-body transformation, our local friends are joining in on the fun to motivate your creativity with Costume Themes and PRIZES.
https://www.facebook.com/events/406993753316580/
Wednesday 10/23
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Parenting Workshop: Surviving your Adolescents nbCC Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213, (413) 663-7588 More information.  


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

4:00 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Family Literacy Night Series The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Educator Open House North Adams Public Library, 64 Church Street, More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 10/24
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Kids Safety of America: Child Abuse and Neglect nbCC’s Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Spaghetti Supper with Tom Bernard North Adams American Legion, 91 American Legion Drive More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Dad and Family Time- Bowling and Pizza Night Valley Park Bowling, Curran Highway More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Octoberfest in The Airport Rooms TOURISTS Welcome, 915 State Road More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Halloween West End Bike Around Greylock School, 100 Phelps Ave More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), OPEN MIC, OPEN MIC The Parlor Cafe, 303 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), INFORMATIONAL, Milton Hershey School Family Event: North Adams, MA Freight Yard Pub & Restaurant, 1 Furnace Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), WRITING, Fiction Writing Workshop [open house] Common Folk, 85 Main Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. ($15), COMEDY, Comedy Night w/ Andy Sandford HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Friday 10/25
10:30 A.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Coffee with a Cop MCLA Campus Center, 375 Church Street More information.

10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Ages and Stages The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIES, Halloween cartoon movie night MCLA Freel Library, Blackinton Street More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

7:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Gregory Douglass LIVE at HiLo North Adams HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 10/26
9:00 A.M. (FREE), CLOTHING DRIVE, Winter Clothing Drive First Baptist Church of North Adams, 131 Main Street More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

12:30 P.M. (Child $5, Adults $8, Family $25), FUNDRAISER, AYJ Fund Children's Princess Concert MCLA Church St Center, 375 Church Street More information.

3:00 P.M. (Cost of Admission), ART, Opening Reception: Sarah Oppenheimer, Jenny Holzer, and ERRE MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Fall Foliage Sunset Serenade - Jessica Gregory Wilson Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

8:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Misty Blues HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices Vary, see link for details), CONCERT, Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller’s Parlour Game MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Sunday 10/27
2:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($20 adv, $25 day of), CONCERT, Jeffrey Foucault HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Monday 10/28
5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, ROOTS Volunteer Training ROOTS Teen Center, 43 Eagle Street More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, nbCC Bike Collective The Armory, 206 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Communications Career Panel Bowman Hall - MCLA, 375 Church Street More information.
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