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Prevention Works! to Close at the End of This Month

By Candace Y.A. Montague

February 8, 2011

Prevention Works! no more in DC. Photo:

Prevention Works! no more in DC. Photo:

Prevention Works!, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with drug addiction, has announced today that it will be closing its doors after 12 years of service. Prevention Works! is known for needle exchange in DC which has been a long time proven method of reducing HIV infections. In a public statement, the Northeast based organization claims that they are "unable to build and sustain the financial and organizational capacity worthy of its work". The last day for business will be Friday, February 25th.

Prevention Works! offered harm reduction services but there was so much more involved. They began as a project from the Whitman-Walker Clinic. They achieved their incorporation in 1998 when Congress passed a law that would forbid organizations from using local government dollars or federal funding to provide syringe exchange. The law was changed in 2007 to allow DC government funds to be used for syringe exchange. Prevention Works! was free to offer more of its services. The group was reportedly running out of money in 2009 and struggled to stay afloat in a wavering economy where non-profit organizations fiercely compete for grant dollars.

Today's statement said:

"The PreventionWorks! Board of Directors feels great sadness and disappointment toward this ending, but made the difficult decision based on financial realities.

While PreventionWorks! made unique contributions to the District’s public health system that will not easily be replaced, it is fortunate that PreventionWorks! is shutting its doors at a time when there are other options for clients. Still, outreach and support services for drug users, including sterile syringe access, are not nearly to scale. In the absence of PreventionWorks!, it will be critical for the government and private funders to increase their support for those
organizations that can step up to fill the void."

What Can You Do?

Volunteer just one last time this Saturday, February 12th from 12 pm- 5pm. Bring ziploc bags if you can.

Volunteer/support the other harm reduction organizations who will be serving their clients.

HIPS: contact Jenna Mellor:

Family Medical and Counseling Services: contact Ron Daniels:

Recommended Reading

Needle victory in DC
Prevention Works! in and around DC

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