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Heroin Response: Syringe Access Exchange Program
Data on the first year of operation of the Grant County syringe access exchange program is available: news release, infographic.
Syringe access exchange programs are a tool to reduce the threat of infectious disease spread through infected equipment, as well as a way to connect IV drug users to treatment resources and other health services.
SB 192, passed in March 2015, allows for syringe exchanges to operate in Kentucky. However, their use must be approved by the Board of Health and county/city government (if applicable) in which they operate. Previously, such programs were illegal in Kentucky.
On June 10, 2015, the Northern Kentucky District Board of Health unanimously passed a resolution supporting the public health need for a syringe access exchange program in Northern Kentucky, and asked Health Department staff to develop such a program. Before a program can operate, the city and county government in which it would be located must also approve.
On Aug. 18, 2015, the Williamstown City Council unanimously approved the operation of a syringe access exchange program in their city.
On Feb. 15, 2016, the Grant County Fiscal Court approved the operation of a syringe access exchange program at the Grant County Health Center in Williamstown. The program began March 16, 2016. Syringe exchange are offered from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Grant County Health Center, 234 Barnes Road in Williamstown. Learn more about the program by watching this video. Information for clients of the Grant County syringe access exchange program.
On March 22, 2016, the Covington City commission approved operation of a syring access exchange program in the city; and the Kenton County Fiscal Court approved operation on March 29, 2016. The resolutions stipulate that three of four Northern Kentucky counties must have programs operating for a program to launch in Kenton County; thus implementation is on hold until either Boone or Campbell Counties pass resolutions. Additional provisions in the resolution are also being reviewed by the District Board of Health.
On May 4, 2016, the Campbell County Fiscal Court approved operation of a syringe access exchange program in the county; however, approval from a Campbell County city is still required. Fact sheet: Syringe access exchange program, meeting a need in Newport
Besides a syringe access program, the Health Department is advocating for other measures that can reduce the harm from IV drug use, including:
Organizations that have signed on in support of a syringe access exchange program in Northern Kentucky:
Campbell Leadership Action Group
Grant County Local Board of Health
Fort Mitchell City Council
Independence City Council
NKY Hates Heroin
Northern Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Task Force
Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy
Park Hills City Council
People Adovacting Recovery
St. Elizabeth Healthcare