MiamiHerald / The trio of workers on the relief mission drove through the mountains to deliver supplies to the destitute in a rural region ravaged by Hurricane Maria.
But they weren’t delivering fuel, ice or hot meals.
Instead, the workers, from an organization called Mountain Point, brought packets of clean syringes, mounds of antibacterial wipes and rolls of gauze from a dwindling supply. In the wake of the storm, their goal is to keep opioid users – Puerto Rico has a long-running addiction crisis – free from deadly diseases they could get from injecting drugs. Toward that aim, the trio even brought tiny disposal aluminum cups – clean ones – that are commonly used to cook heroin to shoot up.
Oliver Franco Rivero, a longtime drug user, slowly wheeled himself into the classroom of an abandoned school to meet the Mountain Point workers. Users gather in the building day and night, despite the missing walls and hundreds of used syringes littering the ground.