The Lake Cumberland District Health Department’s Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program saw 59 total visits with 30 repeat visitors and 14 new visitors for the month of July in Russell County. A total of 2,250 syringes were dispensed and 1,558 collected for a 69.2 percent collection ratio.
That figure represents the lowest monthly collection ratio for the year so far with the previous low being 72 percent back in February. Among returning clients, there was a 92 percent collection ratio with 1,580 syringes dispensed and 1,467 collected. Out of the 149 clients served, 81 were from Russell County.
The goal of the Syringe Exchange Program isn’t to supply needles to drug addicts, according to the health department. Supplying the needles is a strategy being used to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV, to decrease the cost to society for treating Hepatitis C and HIV, to get used needles out of the ditches, and parks, and off the roadsides and disposed of properly, and to recommend referrals for treatment.