[UPDATE] [Audio] ‘Violence imposed on volunteers’ halts community cleanups; Humboldt’s last week of news

Update: “In an effort to continue (cleanups) without putting more volunteers in harm’s way, HACHR Board Members have volunteered to dedicate every Sunday to clean up our community,” according to a social media post.

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (11:31): A Eureka-based nonprofit says they’re axing their regular community cleanups after violence was imposed on their volunteers. The Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (or HACHR) has been cleaning up local streets since 2015 in addition to other efforts such as reducing homelessness and overdoses. They believe the violence stems from misinformation about their organization.

“I hear that syringe exchange is… enabling and coddling, (when) in fact that is the opposite of all evidence and scientific research of the forty years of (it),” said Brandie Wilson, HACHR’s Executive Director. “Another (thing I hear) is that harm reduction enables people who use substances… It does enable people. It enables people to finally take action and pay attention to their own health… It gives people a connection to a meaningful type of work that then begins to fill them with purpose, and through that purpose people begin to reduce their drug use, enter into treatment, and enter into many different types of support that they may need.”

In the podcast Wilson discusses the violent incidents, the criticism HACHR has endured as one of four places in Humboldt that does CDC-approved syringe exchanges, why she believes the fight should continue for the Senator-McGuire-backed safe injection sites that recently failed in the state senate, what it would take for HACHR to resume community cleanups, and much more.

The interview begins at 11:31.

Also covered

The first person shot and killed by Arcata police in 37 years, a murderer tries to be a smartass at the courthouse, an Occupy Eureka protester gets a settlement, an alleged Winco purse-snatcher potentially with the bonehead move of the week, more from Kirsten Dunst and the “Woodshock” crew, waving good-pie, that Scientology bunker near Petrolia, additional crime updates, and much more.

Humboldt Last Week is a way to hear highlights from Humboldt’s last week a news. It’s available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and many other podcast platforms.



  • Where and what are the facts Brandi Wilson is talking about. How does a needle exchange help? I never got free rolling papers anywhere

  • Is there any evidence as to why the person cleaning up was assaulted? A police report? Anything?

  • Is it right to put citizen and little children in harm’s way by giving them free needles so they get high and discard them in public places. I go to work everyday and have to pick up dirty needles.these people don’t want help they want to get high period. Some of those people have been thru programs so many times they burnt those bridges

    • Addicts are going to shoot up clean needles or not. Id rather have them trade in dirty needles for clean ones and maybe learn something along the way. Otherwise nasty diseases are spreading while nobody is talking to addicts about getting better.

  • How that probably went down:
    1. Volunteer seen placing needles.
    2. Hick thinks its enabling the junkies and destroying our society.
    3. Volunteer explains that needles are cheap and reduce the spread of disease and infections.
    4. Hick has difficulty understanding new concepts and justifies attacking the volunteer to “protect the children”.

    • Or some druggy using the area objected? I can see a ‘concerned citizen’ lecturing or objecting to trespass for any reason, especially of a group supporting another group giving problems. But I can see this group exaggerating and obfuscating because they think they have a right to be wherever they want too.

      Therefore facts would be nice to have before judging.

    • By “hick” you mean peabrain dumb ass; they don’t need stinkin’ facts. Right Honeydew CHUMP!

      • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

        No, just proof that dopers don’t want to change, just leech off those that enable them.

        All drugs are bad, but marijuana is the gateway drug and driving dope growers away is exactly what needs to happen for a healthy community to take hold.

        Dopers are unhealthy, bring crime, carry disease, and drive down property values.

        Strong leadership would position Marine units and give dopers 48 hours to leave or surrender.

        Enough is enough already.

    • I think the scenario is more like a Anti Fa sympathizer trying to further push their agenda with more violence

  • Needles and junkies will not be tolerated.
    We are raising children here.
    The shitstorm is coming.

  • I am confused why it is called a needle exchange. They do not exchange dirty needles for clean ones anymore. If they did perhaps we wouldn’t have such an influx of dirty needles littering our city. There has been a lot of talk directed at HACHR because they are handing out so many but not taking the dirty ones back. This is just enabling and putting the rest of our community at risk. So the adddicts are getting protected from diseases but now I have to be extra vigilent incase I or my child steps on dirty ones. We can’t even play at the park anymore!!

    • If I heard her correctly Brandie refutes this argument when she says the 14% of needles that dont come back are mostly needles that get taken by the police or are returned to the other needle exchange places in Humboldt.

    • HCAR is most definately disposing of dirty needles.

    • Charles Engebretson

      Yes they are taking them back….I saw it with my own eyes..get your facts straight

  • Portugal is held up as the gold standard for “decriminalizing” drugs and not “judging” the addict. Their programs has some success due to wrap-around services and is mandatory. Drug dealing is still illegal and dealt with harshly. Other EU countries tried to emulate the program. With the 2008 recession, their budgets were slashed for the addicts in program and caused overdoses, increased crime, and increased disease transmission, increased homelessness. Can you see us having an Injections Site AND wrap-around services? I don’t believe there will be funding for both. Why not use any proposed funding and increase needed detox/rehab facilities and sober living environments along with all the needed physical/mental health and social services. The way I see it, Injections Sites are prolonging the suffering and misery of the addict with the usual end result of death. Which would be more compassionate?


    “The four pillar approach only works when each pillar is properly funded. Prevention reduces the flow of people into addiction. Treatment reduces the number of addicts including those living in the DTES. Policing keeps a lid on the open drug dealing and the affects of the associated problems on the community. Only after these three pillars are properly funded can we afford to spend money on Harm Reduction initiatives that do not encourage abstinence. Putting HR first is like running up debt on your credit card and never paying more than your minimum payments.”


    A Critical Evaluation of the Effects of Safe Injection Facilities
    Garth Davies, Simon Fraser University

    Conclusion: Taking Causality Seriously
    On the subject of the effects of SIFs, the available research is overwhelmingly positive. Evidence can be found in support of SIFs achieving each of the goals listed at the beginning of the evaluation. In terms of our level of confidence in these studies,the assessment offered here is far less sanguine. In truth,none of the impacts attributed to SIFs can be unambiguously verified. As a result of the methodological and analytical problems identified above, all claims remain open to question.


    Vancouver’s INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research?

    Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee


    “At the Vancouver site, the manager said since opening in 2003, the overdose death rate in the area around the clinic has dropped 35 percent. But the clinic also estimates 15 to 20 percent of people using the site come from other parts of the country specifically for it.”

    “Although research appears to bear that out, many of the studies that attest to Insite’s success are small and limited to the years after the center opened. For instance, a 2011 study published in the journal The Lancet found a 35 percent reduction in overdose deaths in the blocks surrounding Insite, versus 9 percent in the rest of Vancouver.

    But that often-cited study looked only at the period two years before and two years after the center opened, not the ensuing decade.”


    “Although Insite is paired with a drug-treatment center, called Onsite, Berner and other critics point out that completion rates are low. Of the 6,500 people who visited Insite last year, 464 were referred to Onsite’s detox center. Of those, 252 finished treatment.”

    The Vancouver Insite was placed in a crime-ridden, drug-ridden, low-income neighborhood. It only got worse.

    “Although the Insite center is a model, the Vancouver neighborhood surrounding it is nothing to emulate, advocates acknowledged.

    “If I came from a city like Seattle and I went to that Insite place, it would scare the hell out of me,” Kral said. “I would think, ‘Are we going to create one of those?’ ””

    Vancouver’s ‘gulag’: Canada’s poorest neighbourhood refuses to get better despite $1M a day in social spending

    What do you think would happen if this was placed in a middle-class neighborhood, or, ANY neighborhood?


    Brian Hutchinson: Finding used drug needles in public spaces has become the new normal for Vancouver


    “Ten years later, despite any lofty claims, for most addicts, InSite’s just another place to get high.”

    The 100% positive studies on Vancouver’s Insite (Safe Injection Facility) was done “Early last decade, Montaner and Kerr lobbied for an injection site. In 2003, the Chretien Liberals acquiesced, gave the greenlight to B.C.’s Ministry of Health, which, through Vancouver Coastal Health, gave nearly $1.5 million to the BC Centre (that’s Montaner and Kerr, you remember them) to evaluate a three-year injection site trial in Vancouver.

    I asked him about the potential conflict of interest (lobbyists conducting research) and he ended the interview with a warning. “If you took that one step further you’d be accusing me of scientific misconduct, which I would take great offense to. And any allegation of that has been generally met with a letter from my lawyer.”

    Was I being unfair? InSite is a radical experiment, new to North America and paid for by taxpayers. Kerr and company are obligated to explain their methods and defend their philosophy without issuing veiled threats of legal action.”

    In the media, Kerr frequently mentions the “peer review” status of his studies, implying that studies published in medical journals are unassailable. Rubbish. Journals often publish controversial studies to attract readers — publication does not necessarily equal endorsement. The InSite study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a favourite reference of InSite champions, appeared as a “letter to the editor” sandwiched between a letter about “crush injuries” in earthquakes and another on celiac disease.”

    Really? What kind of “science” produces dozens of studies, within the realm of public health, a notoriously volatile research field, with positive outcomes 100 per cent of the time? Those results should raise the eyebrows of any first-year stats student.”

    And who’s more likely to be swayed by personal bias? InSite opponents, questioning government-sanctioned hard drug abuse? Or Montaner, Kerr and their handful of acolytes who’ve staked their careers on InSite’s survival? From 2003 to 2011, the BC Centre received $2,610,000 from B.C. taxpayers to “study” InSite. How much money have InSite critics received?”

    There has never been an independent analysis of InSite, yet, if you base your knowledge on Vancouver media reports, the case is closed. InSite is a success and should be copied nationwide for the benefit of humanity. Tangential links to declining overdose rates are swallowed whole. Kerr’s claims of reduced “public disorder” in the neighbourhood go unchallenged, despite other mitigating factors such as police activity and community initiative. Journalists note Onsite, the so-called “treatment program” above the injection site, ignoring Onsite’s reputation among neighbourhood residents as a spit-shined flophouse of momentary sobriety.”


    Reducing the Transmission of Blood-Borne Viral Infections & Other Injection Related Infections

    “Self-reports from users of the INSITE service and from users of SIS services in other countries indicate that needle sharing decreases with increased use of SISs. Mathematical modeling, based on assumptions about baseline rates of needle sharing, the risks of HIV transmission and other variables, generated very wide ranging estimates for the number of HIV cases that might have been prevented. The EAC were not convinced that these assumptions were entirely valid.
    SISs do not typically have the capacity to accommodate all, or even most injections that might otherwise take place in public. Several limitations to existing research were identified including:
    Caution should be exercised in using mathematical modelling for assessing cost benefit/effectiveness of INSITE, given that:
    There was limited local data available regarding baseline frequency of injection, frequency of needle sharing and other key variables used in the analysis;
    While some longitudinal studies have been conducted, the results have yet to be published and may never be published given the overlapping design of the cohorts;
    No studies have compared INSITE with other methods that might be used to increase referrals to detoxification and treatment services, such as outreach, enhanced needle exchange service, or drug treatment courts.
    Some user characteristics relevant to understanding their needs and monitoring change have not been reported including details of baseline treatment histories, frequency of injection and frequency of needle sharing.
    User characteristics and reported changes in injection practices are based on self-reports and have not been validated in other ways. More objective evidence of sustained changes in risk behaviours and a comparison or control group study would be needed to confidently state that INSITE and SISs have a significant impact on needle sharing and other risk behaviours outside of the site where the vast majority of drug injections still take place.”

    “It has been estimated that injection drug users inject an average six injections a day of cocaine and four injections a day of heroin. The street costs of this use are estimated at around $100 a day or $35,000 a year. Few injection drug users have sufficient income to pay for the habit out through employment. Some, mainly females get this money through prostitution and others through theft, break-ins and auto theft. If the theft is of property rather than cash, it is estimated that they must steal close to $350,000 in property a year to get $35,000 cash. Still others get the money they need by selling drugs.”


    “In addition, the federal government’s Advisory Committee on Drug Injection Sites report only five per cent of drug addicts use the injection site, three per cent were referred for treatment and there was no indication the crime rate has decreased, as well as no indication of a decrease in AIDS and hepatitis C since the injection site was opened.”

    Massive Price Hike for Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Antidote

    Suddenly in demand, naloxone injector goes from $690 to $4,500

    Should we follow the money? Who would be profiting bigly from the increased use of naloxone?


    “Setting up free injection sites to deal with the recent spate of drug overdoses does not address the root of the opioid problem, says Ted Brown, executive director of Brampton’s Regeneration Outreach Community.

    Instead, Queen’s Park and other tiers of governments should consider investing resources and dollars toward rehabilitation programs to help those dealing with addiction and mental health issues, said Brown. ”

    Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement

    Jamie Graham, former chief of Vancouver Police has outlined the successful model of dealing with an epidemic: Support, mandatory treatment, abstinence, and counseling as all part of the solution. My recover(ed)(ing) addict friends say they would agree.

    Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening

    In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years. Emma Young finds out how they did it, and why other countries won’t follow suit.


    “The current campaign reports significant reductions in drug overdoses, yet the Government of British Columbia Selected Vital Statistics and Health Status Indicators show that the number of deaths from drug overdose in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has increased each year (with one exception) since the site opened in 2003.”


    Pigeon nest of needles highlights Vancouver’s drug problem

    Some graphs about how overdoses in Vancouver, BC have increased:


    One more: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2f8aa542d4033a1f198a3b0e3e802482a4becf1e45b04e77079e989e5c6460a.jpg

    • So, to spite the reduction of blood-borne pathogens and overdose deaths, you think the bettet solution is to do nothing and hope more junkies just die. Very darwinian of you.

      • “Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement

        Jamie Graham, former chief of Vancouver Police has outlined the successful model of dealing with an epidemic: Support, mandatory treatment, abstinence, and counseling as all part of the solution. My recover(ed)(ing) addict friends say they would agree”

        “Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement

        Jamie Graham, former chief of Vancouver Police has outlined the successful model of dealing with an epidemic: Support, mandatory treatment, abstinence, and counseling as all part of the solution. My recover(ed)(ing) addict friends say they would agree”

        MANDATORY TREATMENT AND COUNSELING. It’s the only thing that works! If that is “Nothing” to you, then make sure you vote YES! To the next California bill that asks for taxes to pay for Treatment Centers!

    • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

      We need to look at how China solved it’s poppy issue, and learn from a workable track record of change.

      Holding hands and singing Kombyya doesn’t work.

  • Funny,,,many many articles about how “Successful” “Safe Injection Sites are” but you know what they fail to do? They fail to prove that the crime, the trash and the shenanigans that go with the user, will lessen or disappear. Bout the only thing this could be is that they can get their needles, have someone watch them to ensure they are properly poisoning their selves

    The site will not sell nor give them their heroin. So the junkie will still steal what ever is not nailed down to support their drug habit. The safe injection will not keep the junkie on premise until their trip is over, so while we will not see the application of the drug, we will still have to suffer them in public tripping and stealing…relieving their bodily functions where ever they feel the need to go.

    Where is the evidence in this scientific evidence that everyone wants to show..Where does it show that the crime lessens? That’s the bottom line.

    But hey you outlaw something, you do nothing about it and then cry how it’s not working..lets just now legalize it.

    And its still a PROBLEM!

  • I read through the data in AB186, which included numbers from a Canadian Safe Injection site. 7% — just seven percent — of the persons using it went into treatment programs, and 54% of that 7% completed the program. What I cannot find anywhere is this number — how many people without safe injection sites quit/go into treatment/rehab ever year? I can’t compare the efficiency of a program verses non-program when there is no data. Can anyone point me in the right direction

  • Thesetruthsareselfevident

    Don’t Google it. Watch where you get you information.

  • Yeah it’s not like a Google will bring up any reputable sources or anything.

  • Government and Harm Reduction used in the same sentence, is an oxymoron to many. Maybe that’s the root of the angry problem? If one truly listens to the words of those who disagree, a cavalry of love and help will undoubtedly rush to the surface to heal not only the angered, but those who are caught up within the micromanaging of the lives of others.

    Harm reduction frowned upon and discouraged by Government. http://wivapers.blogspot.com/2011/08/

    FDA approves 44 new brands of smokes, while continuing their crusade against harm reduction products. http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/fda-approves-44-cigarette-brands.html

    How is this related? If you have to ask, you’ll never “get it”.

    If words are violence, then why is the government using violence against those who wish to use harm reduction products?

  • I concurred with many posters, who point out the fallacy of the program. I then posted other points of interest where the fallacies occur.
    Imagine that.

    • For some reason your comment went into “spam,” maybe due to the URLs. I went in and approved it.

      • Thank you.
        More than 2 URLS will go to moderator, yes. I try to keep it to under 2.
        2 URLs is usually safe.
        It appeared on the page, it didn’t go to moderator.
        It was gone when I came back later to read more leads & thoughts from commentators.
        There is a first time for everything it seems.
        Must have been the gremlins.

    • Shak….sigh, c’mon, where’s the trust, buddy? I haven’t deleted anything of yours. It did go into spam and Myles rescued it. Sometimes links do that to a comment.

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