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Transforming Old Newsstands into Lifesaving Naloxone Dispensers in Northeast Minneapolis

Innovative Community Response to Opioid Crisis

In Northeast Minneapolis, the Jordan neighborhood association has creatively transformed an old Star Tribune newspaper box into a vital naloxone dispensary. This repurposed newsstand, now a beacon of hope, stands prominently outside the association’s headquarters, offering free naloxone kits and fentanyl testing strips. This initiative allows anyone to access these life-saving tools anonymously, supporting individuals in the community facing drug challenges without stigma.

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic with Open Access

Audua Pugh, the executive director of the Jordan Area Community Council, finds the sound of the metal door of the dispenser slamming shut a signal of proactive community engagement in combating the opioid epidemic. The dispenser is strategically placed to serve a high-traffic area, providing essential services to those most at risk. The initiative reflects a profound commitment to harm reduction, emphasizing the importance of accessibility and anonymity in supporting individuals struggling with addiction.

Collaboration and Challenges in Expanding Access

This project was initiated by Jim Barrett, a certified peer recovery specialist, and his colleague Andrew Kamin-Lyndgaard, who saw an opportunity to use decommissioned newspaper boxes as a way to reduce harm in the community. These boxes, located at strategic community points like the East Side Neighborhood Services, are part of a broader effort to normalize and enhance the availability of drug safety tools. Despite some local concerns about attracting drug use, the project has received significant community support, highlighting the urgent need for such resources in the face of a growing opioid crisis.