Citizens Encouraged To Attend Council Meeting, Voice Opinion On Harm Reduction Program - West Virginia Daily News
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Citizens Encouraged To Attend Council Meeting, Voice Opinion On Harm Reduction Program

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Rupert citizens are encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting of the Rupert Town Council and make their voices heard regarding the Seneca Mental Health Harm Reduction Program.

At the last meeting, Rick Martin, Quick Response Team Coordinator for Seneca Mental Health Services, spoke before council members about the possibility of providing a once-a-month clinic in the town.

The clinic, if approved, will be in town for four hours one day each month and will include support services including peer recovery coaches, and medical services offered by the Greenbrier County Health Department and from student doctors from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Martin explained. Through the clinic, people will receive testing for HIV, AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases. Doctors will be able to prescribe antibiotics for any abscesses caused from repeated syringe use and the clinic will provide people with Narcan–a drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose–Fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes.

After council discussion, Rupert Mayor Steve Baldwin stated that the decision to bring a harm reduction to Rupert should really be left up to the citizens.

“We need public opinion,” Baldwin said. “I don’t want to just jump the gun. I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding the program when it was in Rainelle…I think the biggest hurdle that you will have is the controversy that surrounds needles, but most of that controversy comes from either uninformed people, or misinformed people,” Baldwin continued.

In a later interview with The West Virginia Daily News, Baldwin said that he welcomes community input. He encourages citizens to attend the upcoming council meeting on Thursday, January 13, at 6 pm, and voice their opinion.

In anticipation of citizen turnout, the council meeting will be held at the Rupert Community Center, located just across the street from Rupert Town Hall located adjacent to Route 60. This move will ensure proper social distancing and adequate room for everyone who attends.

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