PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– In the hopes of expanding access to resources, JOLT Harm Reduction is now lending its services to McLean County.
For the past month, the organization has offered mobile outreach in the Bloomington area on Mondays and Fridays from noon until 4p.m.
Program director Chris Schaffner said, as a result of a new grant, JOLT was able to hire a part-time outreach worker who is working with multiple organizations in McLean County and providing resources to people in need such as those who are living unsheltered and struggle with substance use.
Schaffner said there is no office in McLean county so they’ll sometimes send teams to the area to interact with people and provide them with supplies, resources or education in their homes, in homeless encampments, in shelters, or on the streets.
He said they’ve been looking at the epidemiology and are currently focusing on higher risk neighborhoods in Bloomington where a number of overdoses have occurred and where there have been a high amount of arrests for drug use.
He said this focus is largely on the west side near the interstate and the Market Street area.
Schaffner said he believes JOLT’s services can make a difference.
“I think the evidence is in that this works, this is helpful, this reduces fatalities, it engages people in care and help and treatment and just overall impacts the quality of life for people who are the most vulnerable to harm,” Schaffner said. “I think as people get used to us being over there they’re going to continue seeing the benefits of having our program over there.”
He said organizations in Bloomington value what JOLT does and have given the organization a warm welcome.
“We have multiple referral partners that we link people to for treatment, for social services, for housing for shelter, people who are experiencing homelessness,” Schaffner said.
Those in the area who need supplies such as (Naloxone/Narcan), safe using supplies, fentanyl test strips, can call or text JOLT’s Outreach Workers at (309) 466-3453.