During the month of March, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department’s Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program saw 79 total visits with 42 repeat visitors and nine new visitors in Russell County. A total of 2,880 syringes were dispensed and 3,053 collected for a 106 percent collection ratio.
Among returning clients, there was a 101.6 percent collection ratio with 2,640 syringes dispensed and 2,683 collected.
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.