Caring for People Who Use Drugs

March 2, 2022
Hansel Tookes III, MD, MPH, cofounder, Idea Exchange

The Idea Exchange is Florida’s pioneering syringe services program where tools like harm reduction, advocacy and compassion are being used to save lives.

“The people who use our program, the people with substance use disorder, they are the first responders. They are the ones saving the lives. We’re just providing the tools. They are the true heroes.”

— Hansel Tookes III, MD, MPH, cofounder, Idea Exchange.

In this video, people who use drugs, people in recovery and harm reduction professionals impart advice to health professionals caring for people who use drugs. In their own words, each describes how compassionate care can serve as a key step to recovery and to fighting the pervasive stigma facing people with substance use disorders.

Dr. Hansel Tookes is a 2021 recipient of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s HIV/AIDS Research Avenir Award for a new project designed to leverage telehealth-enhanced services to engage people who inject drugs into HIV care. Interviews were filmed in September 2021 at the Idea Exchange in Miami, Florida.

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