Letcher County Health Department to discuss needle exchange program


LEADS THE NATION IN RATES OF ACUTE HEPATITIS C. THAT’S ONE REASON FOR TALK RECENTLY ABOUT NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS. W-Y-M-T’S ANGELA REIGHARD TALKED TO FOLKS IN LETCHER COUNTY ABOUT WHAT A PROGRAM LIKE THAT WOULD MEAN FOR THE COMMUNITY. SOME SAY IT ENCOURAGES DRUG USE, WHILE OTHERS SAY IT KEEPS EVERYONE SAFE. 02:50:09 – We have a drug issue here. If that is one of the answers. It might not be THE answer. DANIELLE KING IS A PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTITIONER AT THE CENTER FOR RURAL STRATEGIES. SHE SAYS NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS ARE ABOUT WELCOMING EVERYONE INTO THE COMMUNITY. It allows people who are experiencing this type of addiction to come to be in a safe environment, to be anonymous particularly, and to exchange the used needles with the unused needles KING CALLS IT A “SAFEGUARD.” SHE SAYS THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT THESE PROGRAMS IS SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED RECENTLY IN SCOTT COUNTY, INDIANA. I think it began to wake people up when it hit Scott County. Scott County hadn’t had anything as harsh as this even with the inception of HIV/AIDS. They hadn’t seen this. But, what does that say about the county in general? it says we didn’t have enough safeguards in place. MATTHEW COMBS IS THE COUNTY COORDINATOR FOR THE LETCHER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT. HE SAYS THEY’VE ALREADY STARTED TO TALK ABOUT THE PROGRAM. 03:06:08 – When you have a smaller-knit community you’ve got chances are for multiple sexual partners and users… multiple users that know each other because it’s such a small knit community. With the needle exchange program that would hopefully prevent and try to protect other users from future users from contracting a disease. COMBS SAYS THE BOARD WILL DISCUSS NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS AT THEIR NEXT MEETING ON JULY 14TH. IN LETCHER COUNTY, ANGELA REIGHARD, WYMT MOUNTAIN NEWS. WE ALSO TALKED TO WHITESBURG POLICE CHIEF TYRONE FIELDS. HE SAYS ALTHOUGH HE SEES PLENTY OF DRUG USE, HE DOESN’T THINK A NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM WOULD BE USEFUL. HE WONDERS IF USERS WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO PICK UP CLEAN NEEDLES. COMING UP ON MOUNTAIN NEWS AT SIX … ROAMING THE MOUNTAINS. A BEAR HAS MADE ITS PRESENCE

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