A New Yorker dies every seven hours from a drug overdose. Most of them involve opioids.
Inside a syringe exchange in Washington Heights, frontline workers respond to the epidemic every day.
“We try really hard here at Corner Project to be that family for people if they don’t have one,” said Kailen See, a director at the Washington Heights Corner Project, one of 14 syringe exchange site in New York City.
More than 16,000 people visited facilities like the Washington Heights Corner Project last year.
"We don't ascribe to the philosophy that when we tell people to stop using drugs that they're going to listen,” said See.
The Corner Project started in 2007. Here, drug users can get "one shots," baggies that contain everything a user needs for a single injection.
"We have a responsibility to make sure that they know how to use them safely so that they survive," said See.
Training outreach workers to reverse overdoses is part of See's job. The reason is to be ready in case a participant overdoses here. There were 227 overdose reversals at syringe exchange sites in 2017, an increase of 146 percent from two years before.
Chris died from an overdose only 10 blocks from the Corner Project.
"Every time you lose someone, it’s, every time, it was preventable. Yeah, so it makes me sad," said See.
It is hard for See to know that if Chris had come back to the Corner Project, she could have saved him.
"We have a saying here. We say, 'Where there’s breath, there’s hope.' If you die, if you don’t survive your overdose, you don’t have an opportunity to go to detox or treatment," she said.