Concern for Community is a Co-op Principle, Sustaining a Healthy Community is Our Mission
At Seward Co-op, we are concerned about the increase in drug use and overdoses in our community. The drug epidemic is impacting all of us. We are aware that there are staff and customers who have a substance use disorder or have a loved one who is struggling with one. We want to be proactive in our overdose prevention and response efforts. Concern for community is one of the international cooperative principles and central to our cooperative identity. With this principle in mind, we are working to implement a harm-reduction approach in our stores and community spaces.
We want to share some changes you may notice in the bathrooms and shared spaces of our stores and café:
- Posters that connect people who use drugs to Syringe Service Programs in our community.
- Signage indicating we monitor the building to increase customers’ safety.
- Signage to make universal expectations about use of our shared spaces explicit and clear.
We’ve also taken proactive action behind the scenes to respond to the drug epidemic in our community:
- We have ongoing meetings with staff, subject-matter experts, and service providers to explore strategies to improve safety of our staff, customers, and community members.
- We offer training to key staff members in administering naloxone, the medication that temporarily blocks the effects of an opioid during an overdose. We also offered a similar, free training to our wider community. These trainings were so well-received that we scheduled another series at both Seward Co-op stores to meet the community need.
- We have updated our procedures for monitoring co-op buildings and overdose emergency response, and added additional sharps containers.
Thank you, in advance, for your compassion, support, and patience while we implement these improvements in our stores and café. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about this work, please contact Abby Rogosheske, Equity and Community Engagement Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Finally, huge thanks to staff members at the MN Department of Health and Syringe Service Programs for providing support and resources to our co-ops.
- Safe Disposal of Unused or Expired Medications: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green/managing-unwanted-medications
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment Openings Searchable Database: https://fasttrackermn.org/
- Syringe Service Program Calendar: https://www.justushealth.org/minnesota-syringe-exchange-calendar
- Pharmacies that carry Naloxone: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/opioids/mnresponse/naloxoneaccess.html