Educator training, individual training, volunteer training
The Chicago Recovery Alliance offers training on several key topics on a rotating basis. Trainings are currently open to the public and free of charge.
Overdose prevention & response
Opioid-involved overdose death has become a major health crisis. Laypeople with no medical training whatsoever can easily, safely, and legally be trained to save the life of someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose.
Attendees of this 90-minute training session will learn how to recognize an opioid overdose, how to respond to the overdose by delivering naloxone (opioid overdose antidote), calling for help, and providing rescue breathing. Attendees will receive a free naloxone rescue kit. This training is designed for people who work in social service or who might witness an overdose. Friends, family, community members and people who use drugs are also welcome. Individuals may also visit any of our van-based outreach locations in Chicago without an appointment. Attendees of the training will receive a free naloxone rescue kit.
Overdose education & naloxone distribution (OEND) directly to people who use drugs is an evidence-based practice that reduces fatal opioid overdoses. In this 3-hour training, attendees will:
Learn the context for why overdose prevention is of growing concern and what is known about overdose education and naloxone distribution programs.
Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose and how to respond to an overdose situation with naloxone, the medication that reverses opioid overdose.
Learn what steps to take following an overdose and overdose prevention counseling tips when working to support people who use drugs (PWUD).
Attendees will practice communicating this information back to colleagues, community members, and program participants. We will also address the key components of operating an OEND, address common barriers, learn how to develop an organizational policy, and discuss important next steps in establishing an OEND in accordance with Illinois law.
Hepatitis C preventative & safer injection practices
Safer injection practices can reduce risk for viral infections, skin and soft tissue infections, endocarditis and sepsis, and minimize vein damage.
All hepatitis preventative injection materials & practices are also HIV preventative, but the reverse is not true.
Many people who work with people who inject drugs are not familiar with the nuances of injection techniques, the details about the roles of injection equipment, and how different practices and substance use rituals may promote or jeopardize health and comfort. For example, do you know the pros and cons of spoons vs cookers vs pop cans? Which common material is often improperly used and may even increase hepatitis risk? How do different gauges and lengths of needles reduce damage and improve the experience, depending on the substance? Why might a person choose one injection location over another? Does it matter if the filter is cotton or fiberglass?
In this two-hour hands-on training, we will address these issues and more. This will improve capacity to provide realistic, respectful, believable harm reduction strategizing in collaboration with people who inject drugs.
Safer snorting & smoking harm reduction
Far more people snort or smoke drugs than inject them. In general, snorting and smoking carry less viral and bacterial infection risk than injecting, is less stigmatized, and has traditionally been protective against opioid overdose (compared to injecting). Nonetheless, there are still good opportunities to identify and minimize risk.
Further, with the recent increase in fentanyl in drugs, the risk for overdose when smoking or snorting drugs is increasing. This is important in Chicago because heroin’s route of administration varies by racial and ethnic group: Black & African-American Chicagoans are less likely to inject heroin than white & Latinx counterparts. This also means that Black people who “toot” heroin are less likely to come to a syringe access program where naloxone is available, but overdose risk is increasing because of fentanyl. Providing safer smoking and snorting harm reduction counseling is a racial justice and restorative public health issue.
Organizations that want to provide services to all people who use drugs should have knowledge, training, and materials to offer people who use drugs by all methods of ingestion. This two-hour workshop will focus on opportunities to respectfully engage in safer substance use conversations with people who snort and smoke drugs.
Comprehensive drug checking
Drug checking has been around since the late ‘90s by vanguard groups like DanceSafe and Ecstasy Data. However, the increasing prevalence of fentanyl in heroin, pills, methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA presents new challenges and demands new strategies!
Come to this two-hour workshop to learn about how to use low-cost fentanyl test strips as well as learn about CRA’s new spectrometer-based drug checking services. Historically, CRA participants and the general public only receive information on street drug composition from the medical examiner’s overdose death reports, or occasionally when law enforcement agencies release information about drug seizures. Real-time, accurate information on street-level drug composition (rather than inferring from post-mortem toxicology or large-scale seizures well up the chain of supply) allows people who use drugs to better understand the composition of the substances they consume and allow public health officials to provide reliable information on the current drug landscape.
CRA’s drug checking services can test substances themselves and residue, syringes, cookers, baggies, etc.
Overdose prevention centers: Supervised drug consumption 101
Did you know that there are only three well researched, evidence-based practices with universally positive effects on opioid overdose death? One is agonist-based (methadone, buprenorphine) treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) The second is targeted naloxone distribution to people who use drugs. The third is supervised drug consumption sites (SCS), also called supervised injection facilities (SIFs) or overdose prevention centers. And yet, there is not a single legally operating overdose prevention center in the country, even though there are hundreds operating in other countries.
This 90-minute workshop will review the research on SCS/ODP/SIF facilities, examine different models, review national & international advocacy efforts, and discuss local opportunities for enhancing overdose prevention efforts.