Harm Reduction = Death Reduction –
NOVEMBER 20, 2019 – Drug overdoses led to the deaths of more than 70,000 people across the United States in 2017, and more than 68 percent of those deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid drug. Community health centers, such as Ryan Health, care for the most vulnerable people who are dealing with drug abuse, just as they care for the most vulnerable people in general … “Primary care, or places where it’s easier to access that people go more often, you have a better chance of doing addiction treatment, because people are more likely to see their primary doctor,” Siddiqui said.
The Hell’s Kitchen-based clinic (which is named for the neighborhood) serves a marginalized community somewhat hidden amidst a rapidly gentrifying area that now boasts trendy restaurants and tony apartments. Nevertheless, the area, which gained fame as the setting of “Taxi Driver” and “Daredevil,” is still home to many long-time residents in rent-controlled apartments, as well as people who are experiencing homelessness, or who are otherwise vulnerable.
“We’re not treating anyone different than we were [them] treating before. These are the patients we were treating before … but now we are screening all our patients for addictions,” Siddiqui said, referring to patients age 18 and older. Despite being located in an expensive part of the city, about 80 percent of Ryan Health’s patients earn an income below the poverty line. Ten percent are homeless. The system has close to 206,000 patient encounters per year.