Jesus meets His mother.

the need for needle exchange

Jerusalem, Station 4:
Jesus meets His mother.

Seattle, Station 4:
SOS (Street Outreach Services) and the Needle Exchange.

Doing what we think is right has consequences for ourselves and for our loved ones. SOS and the Needle Exchange, which are located on "The Blade," one of the toughest blocks in town, offer harm reduction services but are perceived by many in the community as encouraging drug users.

This story is fiction, although the quotes reflect actual conversations with real people.

Marcie is a licensed nurse. 40 hours a week she works for a very respectable nursing home. 8 hours a week she donates to the Needle Exchange: setting out bio-waste trash containers to collect dirty needles, passing out sterilized needles, sterilization kits, information sheets on safe drug practices.

Marcie's father began to worry as soon as he heard of her new charity. "The Blade! That's the toughest block in town! What if you nick yourself on a dirty needle? What if one of those crazy addicts attacks you? What if they have TB? Can you catch TB there?"

Marcie's mother was outraged. "What's this with 'Harm Reduction'? You make it easier for addicts to avoid the consequences of being addicts? They should die faster, that would help clean up the city!"

Marcie's teenaged brother is dreadfully embarrassed and begs her never to mention what she does in front of his friends, they'll think he's a dope addict too.

Marcie goes on handing out needles. She says a prayer of thankfulness for every face she sees back one more week. She says a prayer of grief for each one that doesn't come back.

More about harm reduction and needle exchange

Station 5
Stations of the Cross: the Spiritual Geography of Homeless People in Seattle