Thursday, March 5, 2009

Needle Exchange and Law Enforcement: The Secrets of Our Success

Last week, BCI's Basha Silverman was a co-presenter at a symposium by the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS called "Aligning Criminal Justice and HIV Prevention: From Conflict to Synergy." Allan Clear of the Huffington Post has written a detailed recap, which I encourage you to check out.

Here is the portion pertaining to Brandywine:

"From the service provider and government sector, Basha Silverman from Brandywine Counseling, a drug treatment/ needle exchange program in Wilmington, Delaware and Maxine Phillips and Mary-Ellen Cala from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute explained the secrets of their success in working with law enforcement. Strategically speaking the tactics are simple; relentless relationship building comprised of community and civic association meetings, meetings with police chiefs/captains and their support staff, joining sub-committees and inviting police onto advisory boards, arranging visits to treatment and exchange programs, working with community relations police, and training, training, and more education. Ideally, these efforts would foster the creation of feedback loops so that it is clear what works, what does not work, and would aid in the establishment of a strategy for furthering more effective community partnering. At all times it is critical to acknowledge law enforcement's own perspective on community drug issues and to emphasize the benefits that they can derive in supporting syringe exchange, such as minimizing risk from a needle stick. The relationship between providers and police can, and should, be a bi-directional initiative."

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