ROANOKE, Va. – After months of push back, a mobile unit distributing free and clean syringes to clients is weeks away from launching in the Star City.
In a quiet, unassuming building on Campbell Avenue, the Drop-in Center provides HIV and hepatitis prevention and testing. It also connects patients with care.
A new, second location on Williamson Road will offer similar services and more.
“So, what they will have is access to apply to get through the intake procedure, to get tested, and get linked to medical care and substance abuse treatment if they are ready,” said Pam Meador, director of the Drop-in Center.
The new space, called the Drop-in Center North, will open in a few weeks.
It’s also designated as a syringe services site for its comprehensive harm reduction program.
The plan is to send mobile units to different locations around the city to connect registered participants with resources for mental health and various treatments.
“We’ll be coordinating with Roanoke city police just as the agreement allotted us to do. But they will be in locations where someone can use the mobile unit without feeling stigmatized,” said Meador.
The harm reduction program is a way to fight the opioid crisis.
“Roanoke has the largest addiction problem in the state of Virginia,” Meador said.
Roanoke is now the fourth locality in Virginia to have a syringe exchange program.
The Williamson Road location will open its doors on Jan. 13.