Many people might be hesitant to set up a compassion clubs michigan because they perceive it to be an unsafe drug use environment. While most drug users are responsible and safe, there is always the chance for individual risk when drugs are involved. Anyone who has taken drugs in the past — even once — may understand the implications of this statement better than anyone else. However, with all our common knowledge about HIV and hepatitis C transmission risks, compassionate clubs do not pose any more danger than other social settings where people may share needles or other paraphernalia (for example: shooting galleries or clinics).
8 myths about compassion clubs are:
1. Compassion clubs are a place where people can sell drugs and exchange them for free.
Fact: Many compassion clubs allow users to exchange their drugs for free in the compassionate club, but still allow them to access their money to purchase other items that they need. For example, if you need a new needle for your work, you can purchase your dose of medicine from the staff member who supplies it in the shop. It is just common sense that someone would have to exchange some of their hard earned money for a needle if they needed one first before they could use it again without paying extra. Further, some compassion clubs do not sell any drugs; these are purely used as an outlet for donating or helping distribute clean needles.
2. Compassion clubs encourage people to buy drugs and use them in the shop.
Fact: People are not forced to purchase drugs from the compassion club, nor is there any pressure to use their purchased drugs in the shop. All money made during drug sales goes toward funding programs such as needle and syringe programs. No profits are made from these activities; all funds are used for charitable purposes related to HIV and hepatitis C prevention education, drug treatment and social services for people with substance abuse problems.
3. Compassion clubs encourage drug use by providing free needles for users.
Fact: Encouraging drug use is not the intention of most compassion clubs. Rather, they provide clean needles and other supplies so that users can be responsible in their use, if they choose to do so. Compassion clubs provide clean needles to heroin users, but they don’t sell them. Instead, the money made from drug sales is used to purchase other services and resources that are completely non-drug related.
4. Compassion clubs encourage drug use because they provide free drugs.
Fact: Many compassion clubs do not sell drugs and have no intention of ever taking part in the drug trade. Some operate entirely as a non-profit organization or as a public health care facility with no clinical services for clients, whereas others operate as a social club that serves as an outlet for volunteer work.
5. Compassion clubs are located inside or near places of worship and therefore encourage drug use at those locations.
Fact: Physical locations of compassion clubs are not connected to any religious group. Most compassion clubs are inside or adjacent to residential dwellings, whereas others are located inside private businesses. Furthermore, most compassionate club visitors do not attend religious services each week.
6. Compassion clubs allow drug users to consume street drugs in a social setting where they can work out their issues and receive support from other addicts who have also been using drugs for many years.
Fact: Compassion clubs provide HIV prevention education programs and resources (for example: clean needles) along with the opportunity for people to learn about safer ways to use drugs and manage addictive behaviors associated with the drugs they do use. These programs may include group discussions or small group sessions on topics related to substance abuse and addiction, for example: peer-to-peer education about safer injecting techniques, healthy lifestyle choices and relapse prevention.
7. Compassion clubs encourage drug use by providing free drugs.
Fact: Drug users are not forced to use their drugs in the compassion club. They can choose to take their drug outside of the store, but at the mercy of other street dealers. Compassion clubs provide free needles to users, but these are not the only free resources offered within the club. Most compassion clubs offer group education programs which can help with a variety of social issues, such as depression and coping with racism.
8. There is no confidentiality at compassion clubs.
Fact: A confidentiality agreement is signed at the time of membership, which prohibits staff members from discussing the names and personal information of other patrons. This is to ensure that all club members feel safe in their non-judgmental setting and are able to participate in discussions without the fear of being judged by others or by staff members.
Compassion clubs may not be for everyone, but it doesn’t mean that no one can benefit from them. They merely provide an outlet for people who may not need a treatment program or an addiction clinic; instead, perhaps these services are all they need to get their lives back on track.