Today our class was able to hear from Clayton Ruley, the Community Engagement Director from Philadelphia Prevention Point. During his presentation, we learned about Prevention Point as an organization, the services they offer, and the organization’s overall missions and goals when it comes to harm reduction. In simplified terms, harm reduction involves public health strategies aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with an action. As a basic example, Ruley explained that this could be reducing potential of a burn by wearing an oven mitt while taking something out of a hot oven. In terms of the work Prevention Point does, harm reduction strategies are used for substance use and sex work. Prevention Point offers syringe exchanges, sex education and safe-sex tools, HIV and HCV testing, risk-reduction counseling, and overdose reversal training, as well as medical, legal, and social support services, among other things. Ruley stressed that Prevention Point operates in a fashion that meets the individual where they are in their own process, and seeks to be proactive, not reactive, in their work.
I thought this presentation was really interesting, as Ruley gave a more holistic view of what prevention point does. While people may not know the services they offer, or may only know them for their syringe exchange services, they cover a much broader scope. It’s important that they offer services for multiple aspects of the experience of a person with a substance-use disorder, and it seems that their impact in Philadelphia is certainly showing. Something that Ruley mentioned in his presentation that I found interesting, was that Prevention Point also offers mail services for individuals without an address. I didn’t know about this service, along with some other services mentioned in his presentation. That being said, I’m glad I now know all of what Prevention Point has to offer, and feel that more people should know what is available in their community, whether or not they will make use of the services themselves.