Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nelson County starting syringe exchange on one-for-one basis

Requiring "a clean needle for every dirty one . . . isn't the best practice to reduce the spread of blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C" through a syringe exchange, "but it's the one the Nelson County Health Department will adopt for its exchange, which will begin in July," Randy Patrick writes for The Kentucky Standard in Bardstown.

"When addicts first come in, they won't have to bring dirty needles, but for subsequent visits, they will," because that's what the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin requires in return for funding of a syringe exchange, and County Judge-Executive Dean Watts said that was the intent of the county Fiscal Court when it approved the exchange, Patrick reports.

Health officials in Louisville and Lexington do not follow the one-for-one rule and recommend against it. "All it does is encourage the use of sharing dirty needles," Kevin Hall, communicaitons director for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, told Patrick.

The exchange will be the first in the six-county Lincoln Trail District Health Department, which also includes Meade, Hardin, LaRue, Marion and Washington counties. None of the district's counties are among the 54 that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers most at risk for an HIV or hepatitis outbreak among intravenous drug users. Breckinridge and Grayson counties, which were once part of the district department, are on that list.

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