Interview with Lyndsay Hartman from Point to Point Kane County.

A few months ago, while I was scrolling through my Facebook posts, one particular message caught my eye. I had just lost my sister to liver cirrhosis (cause still not a 100% clear, but I am sure the drugs, over-the-counter medication and alcohol she used for years didn't helped her in any way with this), and I was trying to cope with this huge loss.

I wanted to do something to help out people that were addicted, and Lyndsay's message really spoke to me. This seemed like something I could help out with. I immediately liked her message, described briefly that I had just lost my sister and asked how I could help Lyndsay out. I also saw that not everyone responded positively to her message and I wanted to let Lyndsay know that there indeed were people out there that encouraged her initiative. Luckily, more people responded positively after that.

Lyndsay proudle presents her mobile syringe acces program: Point to Point.

Lyndsay proudle presents her mobile syringe acces program: Point to Point.

Lyndsay told me she was trying to get the word out to the community, for example by connecting to facilities that would be willing to hand out flyers to people in need. She told me that she wanted to make sure that people knew that she was there and that she had supplies to help people out.

I told her I could do an interview with her, on my blog, to spread the word. She was very grateful for that, so here we are.

Interview with Lyndsay Hartman from Point to Point Kane County

Can you please explain what Point 2 Point is?

Point to Point is a program where people who inject drugs can obtain clean needles and other supplies for safer injection, as well as the overdose reversal drug, Naloxone. They can get these supplies for free and confidentially.

Lyndsay and her mom. Shirt is from Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition.

Lyndsay and her mom.
Shirt is from Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition.

What made you start up Point 2 Point?

I dated a person who was a heroin addict. I saw first-hand how hard of a life it was for him and for the ones who loved him. I felt like I failed after we parted ways. So much time and energy had been put into that relationship and his health! I learned so much from him, and the process of addiction, I felt like I needed to do something. My friend was doing harm reduction work in the city and when I heard about what it entails, a light bulb went on – like, “YES. That’s what I’m meant to do”.

Harm reduction methods accept that a person is using drugs but aims to reduce the harms that come with drug use. Having access to clean needles is a pillar of that. People who have access to these types of programs are 5x as likely to seek treatment! Isn’t that crazy?

They teach better health practices, but they also show compassion. I was my ex-boyfriends family, the closest person to him… and the shame he felt about his drug use to the point where he wouldn’t even tell ME – that made my heart hurt. No one should have to feel that alone. I just want to be an ally for people that most others would turn their back on. I want to keep people healthy and safe, regardless of their drug use.

'Don't these programs encourage drug use?' NOPE. For full size info sheet see: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk/cdchiv-fs-syringe-services.pdf

'Don't these programs encourage drug use?' NOPE.
For full size info sheet see:
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk/cdchiv-fs-syringe-services.pdf

Why does Kane County need Point 2 Point?

These types of programs occur in larger cities, in fact I’m basically just copying a program in Chicago called Chicago Recovery Alliance. But the suburbs have the “not in my back yard” stance. Which is so damaging! Can you imagine having an addiction to heroin in the suburbs, where people don’t even want to acknowledge your existence?

Kane County has been affected by the opioid crisis and overdose deaths as have a lot of places. I’m here, physically – so this is where my work is going to start.

Are there any other organizations in the U.S. or worldwide that are similar to Point 2 Point?

Yes! As I mentioned before, Chicago Recovery Alliance has been doing this work since the 90s and they are AMAZING.  I’ve also been closely watching Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition because they are also fighting for legislation, being that needle exchange is illegal in Iowa. But these programs are everywhere! I’m not reinventing the wheel by any means, I’m just bringing it to a community that doesn’t have one yet.

What are your most important goals for Point 2 Point?

Work one on one with people who use drugs and give them tools to be safe. Let them feel respected and loved (if only by me to start!). Build a community. I respect and applaud efforts to supply first responders and schools with Naloxone, but I know that the “first responders” to the opioid crisis are the drug users themselves. So they are my focus.

A few of the syringes that Lyndsay hopes to hand out soon.

A few of the syringes that Lyndsay hopes to hand out soon.

How can people support and/or help Point 2 Point?

Spread the word! Donate money (when I figure out how that will work HA!) and just live with compassion. When people start dehumanizing people who use drugs, know enough to maybe preach empathy. The education piece is so important to me.

How can people that are in need of your service, reach you?

At 630.492.1454 (call or text)

Or email point2pointkane@gmail.com

All the info you need, to get help for your self or others.

All the info you need, to get help for your self or others.

Thank you so much for this interview, Lyndsay. Hopefully I can help you out in other ways in the future too, because I think it is very important, what you do with Point 2 Point!

So, people, please spread the word, by spreading this interview, by spreading Lyndsay's contact information and as Lyndsay asked you to do: please look around you. I had no clue either that my sister needed way more help. I am still questioning myself if she would have still been here, if I would have been more aware, if I would have looked further than just her 'annoying behavior'.

I am forever grateful that me and my sister reconnected a few years ago and that we kept having contact from then on. She was doing much better, but unfortunately the damage to her body was already done. She finally had the courage to deal with most of her demons, but it was too late.

Make sure it isn't too late for YOU, or the people surrounding you!

Annemarie

"Naloxone" Breaking the Stigma from Van Asher on Vimeo.

 

 

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