MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For people who don’t have a home, there is a lot to worry about. But thanks to a program sponsored by the University of Miami, those who are homeless don’t have to worry about their medication being lost or stolen.
IDEA Exchange provides a safe place for homeless people to pick up their prescriptions.
“I was looking to stop my evil ways. So I decided to put it here to not be tempted to sell a bottle or misplace the pills or get them stolen away from me,” said Broken Arrow, who was picking up a supply of his life-saving medicine.
Health experts say it’s common for people who live in the streets to lose medication or for it to get stolen and sold.
“If someone is currently living under the bridges or homeless, and they’re not able to watch their belongings, how are they going to hold on to thousands of dollars’ worth in medications?” said Elisha Ekowo.
Ekowo is a team lead at the IDEA Exchange. They saw a solution to this problem.
“We have people who are homeless, who are virally suppressed, who have been cured of Hepatitis C. All of these things are achievable, you know what I mean, and it starts with the medication pill lockers,” said Ekowo.
Now participants can go to a secure location where their prescriptions are stored and pick up a few days’ worth.
“Everyone deserves care. Everyone deserves to live a part of something, and able to reach out to people who can help them,” said Ekowo.
Arrow was living on the streets, addicted to heroin and cocaine, when he reached out.
“I was a hardcore junkie in the street – very bad. I had a $400 a day habit. I went from full blown addiction to viable citizenship,” said Arrow.
Now he volunteers his time four days a week to the program he said gave him his life back.
“I’m here to help anybody who wants to get clean, he said.
IDEA stands for “Infection Disease Elimination Act.” their goal is to reduce the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.