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Megan Sarmento (she/her/hers)

Megan Sarmento (she/her/hers)

When I was introduced to the concept of harm reduction as an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, it just made sense to me. I was raised with an abstinence based approach to drug use - if I did it, there were to be horrible consequences. But the idea that maybe instead of criminalization, we could provide support, education, and medicine, just clicked with me. Why aren’t we already doing that first? So, during my master’s degree at Georgia State University, I volunteered with a Syringe Services Program (SSP) in Atlanta. My ideas about people who use drugs changed - we are all human and deserve access to social support and health care as much as anyone else. Then, I experienced my own issues with substance use and became a part of the recovery community.


When I moved to Tampa for a PhD program in medical anthropology at the University of South Florida, I sought employment with IDEA Exchange Tampa and almost immediately knew I was home. The Hepatitis C epidemic became visible to me here, yet very few participants had received treatment. Now I find purpose in helping people who use drugs get access to recovery and health care, including Hepatitis C treatment.

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