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Harm reduction group opens new syringe program in Lewiston

Safe Injection Sites
Mary Altaffer
In this Tuesday, July 3, 2018, photo, a used syringe removed from the bed of a sidewalk tree near VOCAL-NY headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York is seen in a disposal container. VOCAL-NY runs a needle exchange and harm reduction services, as well as overdose prevention and other services for people who use drugs.

A new syringe service program opened Tuesday in Lewiston.

The Church of Safe Injection will operate the site, which will provide sterile syringes, the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, counseling, and other resources to community members who use drugs.

It's one of five sites that the Church of Safe Injection plans to open in central and western Maine after receiving certification last summer from the Maine CDC.

Syringe programs are what's known as harm reduction services, which are intended to reduce the transmission of diseases and provide a pathway to recovery for people with substance use disorder.