Scott County renews needle exchange program

Scott County renews needle exchange program
The syringes program is commonly referred to as the needle exchange program. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)  Representatives from the Scott County Health Department received immediate push back from county commissioner Mike Jones on the proposal to renew the county's syringe services program.

"I don't like how the program is run," Jones said. "I'll be as honest as the day is long."

The program is commonly referred to as the needle exchange program.

"I don't like the cards," Jones said. "I don't like how people say that they you are carrying a needle and they can legally do that."

There's a lot of gray area in Indiana. It's illegal to possess a needle but needle exchanges are legal. Those participating in the program have a card to prove it but there's no personal information on it.

"There's some struggle with that when it comes to going to law enforcement when they have a lot of syringes," Michelle Goodin, Scott County's Health Department Administrator, said. "They need to figure out who possesses a syringe and that card doesn't provide any identifiable information."

Scott County received national attention following a recent HIV outbreak. Since the start of the syringe program, the Health Department said the county's numbers are down.

The community has dug themselves out of their last place spot for health outcomes in Indiana. That statistic alone was enough for the county's two other commissioners to vote yes, ultimately renewing the program.

"There's no denying that so I think we have to continue to support it and continue to have this program," Lori Croasdell of the Scott County Partnership said.

The syringe services program has been renewed for two years. Goodin agreed with some of the issues presented during the commissioner's Wednesday meeting. She's planning to work with state legislatures to work out the kinks.

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