A South Carolina Syringe Service Program
Since its inception, the mobile unit has been successful in it's mission of "meeting people where they are", all over the Upstate. Services include syringe exchange, overdose prevention, HIV and Hep C testing, drug user education, MAT/MOUD referral, and linkage to care. If you would like to request the bus in your area or at your business or organization, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 100,000 syringes every year
Over 50,000 doses
Syringe Exchange is our foundation. We support the right for People Who Use Drugs to have safe using supplies and access to healthcare. We provide harm reduction services through the non-profit Challenges Inc, and medication for opioid use disorder using buprenorphine products through a partnership with Carolina Wellness and Recovery of Powdersville . Our mobile unit travels all over the Upstate of SC. Visit our Services page to learn more about a South Carolina syringe exchange.
Please note, it is important to us that all of our funding, partnerships, and initiatives have low barriers to care and are well informed by Drug User Health.
At Challenges Inc., our mission is to reduce the damage caused by punitive drug policies, so that people who use drugs can live safe, healthy lives in our community.
Hi, my name is Marc, and I'm the founder of Challenges Inc. I started doing this work in 2016 after dealing with my own challenges from drug use. When I was 19 years old I learned I had contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles, due to not having access to sterile syringes. This diagnosis was devastating to me and my family and it affected everything in my life; relationships, mental health, and of course, my health! After living with it for 10 years I was finally afforded the opportunity to have it cured with a new drug called "Harvoni" that had great success rates. However, it was extremely expensive; close to $100,000! Luckily for me, I had health insurance which covered most of the cost.
Reflecting back on my time using IV drugs and living with a fatal diagnosis, I wondered what was being done in my area to prevent other people from going through the pain and suffering I had experienced. I quickly learned that the health and wellbeing of people who inject drugs was not being talked about in South Carolina. As someone who had recently started working in the "substance use" field, I found this to be odd since things like Hepatitis C and drug use go hand in hand. It was then that I set out on a journey to understand the current landscape of drug user health services in SC and figure out how to provide these services to the people in need.
I started off by acquiring supplies like condoms, syringes, and other items used to reduce the spread of disease, and began handing them out from the trunk of my car. Instantly, I saw the effect this had on the people I was serving, as meeting someone who injects drugs with no judgement, discrimination, or coercion is not something they are used to. Thus, the first Syringe Services Program in South Carolina was born.
Since then, the goal of Challenges Inc has remained the same: stop the spread of preventable and unnecessary infectious diseases and other healthcare issues by providing harm reduction tools to the people in need.
Today, our services include much more than just handing out syringes. We provide testing for HIV and Hepatitis C with linkage to free treatment for both. We offer referrals to substance use disorder treatment and help individuals navigate the treatment system. We provide low barrier access to naloxone and give out hundreds of doses of the life saving drug every month, and we do it all from a beautiful little bus. Check it out on the Locations page. Maybe most importantly though, we are a creator of change for how our community views people who use drugs, from healthcare to criminal justice, and we hope to continue improving the lives of the people we serve and health outcomes for our community at large.
Your support helps us continue this life saving work.
Studies show that participants of a program like ours are 5x more likely to enter into treatment and 3x more likely to stop using drugs than those who are not. These prevention services also decrease the spread of diseases like HIV and Hep C by up to 80%. The use of naloxone, buprenorphine, and syringe access are all evidence based practices preferred and recommended by the CDC and SAMHSA as a key strategy to fighting the opioid crisis.
Check out our Blog to learn more about our harm reduction work in South Carolina.
We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 initiative under the "Recovery Institute of South Carolina" and are able to do this work because of donations from community members. small grants, and help from volunteers. Our Federal Tax ID is 84-2776604. If you would like to make a contribution to our South Carolina syringe exchange, click DONATE. Please email email@example.com for more information. Thank you for your support!
Recovery Institute of South Carolina
is proud to endorse the initiative Challenges Inc:
103 Clair Drive, Piedmont, South Carolina 29673, United States
Suite C Contact us: (864)-214-6181
09:00 am – 05:00 pm
The Harm Reduction and Syringe Services Symposium is happening in Greenville on June 9th. This is a historic event for SC and one we need your support at. If you are a person with lived experience, use code "harmred1" to register. Click below for more details.