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A New Public Health Crisis in WNC
 
The opioid epidemic is devastating communities across the country, and Western North Carolina is no exception. In fact, the overdose rate in Buncombe County nearly tripled in the first 8 months of 2017, compared to the entirety of 2016. There are 68 opioid pills prescribed per person per year in Buncombe County. In addition to prescribed opiates, the use of illegal opioid substances like heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil has skyrocketed in recent years.
 
People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) run the risk not only of overdose but of contracting and spreading blood borne diseases like HIV and viral Hepatitis. That is why WNCAP operates the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville (NEPA), a syringe exchange program where people may drop off used needles for proper disposal and pick up free sterile needles and supplies. The Centers for Disease Control maintains that needle exchange programs are effective in bringing down rates of Hepatitis and HIV, and in 2016 the North Carolina legislature made it legal to operate needle exchange programs.
 
There is an overwhelming demand in our community for needle exchange. In August, over 800 people visited the WNCAP office to utilize our NEPA services. Although WNCAP's service area is technically 18 counties in Western North Carolina, in 2016 people poured in from 32 counties and 4 states other than North Carolina. In that same year, WNCAP distributed over half a million needles, and between July 2016 and June 2017, NEPA accounted for a staggering 38% of all needle exchange activity in the state of North Carolina.
 
 
In order to cope with this flood of demand, WNCAP has recently changed its NEPA hours of operation to 9am-5pm on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. This is so we can make supplies of needles last longer throughout the month. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, our partners at The Steady Collective distribute syringes and naloxone (Narcan) at Firestorm Books and Coffee and The Haywood Street Congregation, respectively. Our hope is that by slightly reducing our hours of operation, we can maintain supplies of syringes more consistently.
 
As of now, WNCAP receives no money from the federal, state, or local government to help fund our needle exchange program. We rely on donations from individuals who are willing to step up and be a part of the solution to this growing public health crisis. WNCAP has launched a Gofundme page to raise money to help stop the spread of Hepatitis and HIV in our community. We encourage you to visit that page, learn more about this devastating epidemic, and to take action to help stop it.
 
To learn more about the Needle Exchange Program of Asheville, please call us at (828) 252-7489 or email wncap@wncap.org. 
 
Season of Giving
WNCAP Launches Annual Holiday Gift Drive, Merry & Bright
This is the season of giving, and WNCAP is dedicated to ensuring that ALL children have a Merry & Bright holiday, regardless of income.
 
That’s why we are once again launching our Merry & Bright Holiday Gift Drive. Your donation will help give our clients’ children the presents they truly deserve this season. It’s your chance to be a little boy or girl’s personal Santa Claus. Will you help make the season of giving really sparkle?
 
You may see the Merry & Bright Rainbow Holiday Tree around Asheville! Our two roving rainbow trees are travelling around different businesses and community locations so that as many people as possible can participate in spreading joy.
 
If you see it when you’re out and about, snap a picture and post it on social media! Tag @WNCAP on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, and use the hashtags #MerryandBright and #RainbowTree. We love to see our tree getting around town!
 
Election Season
Vote in the Asheville Primary Elections Today!
 
It's election season for Asheville local politics.
 
Today, Tuesday, October 10 is the PRIMARY Election Day for the offices of mayor and City Council. The winners of these elections will go on to compete in the GENERAL election on November 4, 2017.
 
Voting will be held at individual precinct locations throughout Asheville. Click here to find out where you can cast your ballot.. Polls are will be open from 6:30am-7:30pm.
 
 
Elections this year will be held for Mayor of Asheville and for Asheville City Council. Voters will select one candidate for mayor and three candidates for City Council.
 
To find out more about all the candidates running for local office, as well as details on how to vote and to register to vote, check out the 2017 Asheville Voter Guide.
Serving Our Community
WNCAP to Open Access to Shower for Homeless Clients
Most people take for granted the ability to bathe regularly, and lack of access to free showers is one of the most difficult problems associated with homelessness. That’s why WNCAP is opening up the shower in our office for our clients who lack stable housing. But we need the help of our generous community members!
 
If you have bathroom supplies: shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash, washcloths or towels, or anything else that helps a person feel clean and fresh – let us know! You can call the WNCAP office at (828) 252-7489, reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter, or simply come and see us at 554 Fairview Rd. in Asheville. Thank you!
Spirit of Giving
Haywood Street Congregation Seeking Donations
 
The Haywood Street Congregation is a fantastic community resource for the poor and homeless residents of Asheville as well as an uplifting and inspiring place of worship for all citizens.
 
On Wednesdays, Haywood Street hosts The Downtown Welcome Table, a free sit down, family style luncheon for up to 400 people each Wednesday, with cloth napkins and china plates. Through partnerships with some of the very best local restaurants and chefs, referred to as Chefs at The Downtown Welcome Table, once a month the Downtown Welcome Table becomes a gourmet affair. Free haircuts are available to those waiting to be seated for lunch.
 
Haywood Street needs our help to continue to provide services to those who need it most in our community. Please reach out to Haywood Street if you can donate any of the below items:
  • HE Laundry detergent (liquid only)
  • Dishwasher detergent pods
  • Coffee (ground, non-flavored)
  • Large black garbage bags
  • Clorox wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Reading glasses
  • Shampoo and conditioner (full-sized for Respite)
  • Kleenex
  • Toothbrushes
  • T-shirts, blue jeans, shorts
  • Work boots, all sizes
  • Copy paper
  • Toilet paper
  • Small backpacks
Save the Date
October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day
 
October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day.
 
NLAAD is a national campaign that unites the Hispanic/Latino community in raising awareness of HIV, promotion of HIV testing, prevention, and education; in addition to other critical health issues such as Hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections.
 
The Latino Commission on AIDS founded NLAAD in 2003 and continues to coordinate its broader strategy. But the real impact of the day is executed by local organizations, which use October 15 as an opportunity to spread awareness, build capacity within HIV nonprofit organizations, and cast the spotlight on Latino faces behind the epidemic.
 
 
 
Advocacy
AIDS United Offers Scholarships to Attend AIDSWatch on March 25-26
 
AIDSWatch is the largest annual national constituent-based advocacy event focused on HIV policy in the United States. The event draws hundreds of people living with HIV and their allies to Washington, DC for two days to educate Members of Congress and their staff about HIV. Participants will receive training on current science, legislative priorities, and how to conduct effective meetings with their elected representatives. 
 
A total of 50 hotel & travel scholarships will be issued through this process. Travel accommodations will include two nights (Sunday March 25 and Monday March 26) at Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC along with airfare, train, or mileage reimbursement for transportation.
 
The timeline is as follows:
 
October 31, 2017 8 PM ET/ 5PM PT: Applications Due 
January 2018: 
Awardees Selected & Notified 
March 26-27, 2018: 
AIDSWatch!


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Western North Carolina AIDS Project  |  554 Fairview Rd.  |  Asheville, NC 28803
http://wncap.org
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