Louisville officials to begin needle exchange program - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville officials to begin needle exchange program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The city of Louisville is set to start its needle exchange program next week.

Health officials set out their plans before a Metro Council committee on Wednesday afternoon.

The program will cost about $224,000 a year and will be mainly funded by Metro Government.

The budget includes around $60,000 for a substance abuse counselor.

The program will operate six days a week at the Health Department's headquarters in downtown Louisville.

RV already used by the Health Department, will help efforts and will be stationed across the street.

The program will also reach out to users with the help of different volunteer organizations who can provide clean needles while working the streets.

The threat of an epidemic of HIV and Hepatitis C, like in in Scott Co, Indiana, is one reason Metro Council approved the needle exchange ordinance in April.

Now, the Health Department has outlined its plan for the program. The goal is to get as many clean needles on the street as they can. It will cost $50,000 for needles in the first year, based on 500 participants getting 4 needles a day.

Clean needles are not the only aspect of the program. HIV and Hepatitis C testing will be available and health officials can direct users to get help.

During Wednesday's meeting, Councilwoman Marilyn Parker said LMPD Chief Steve Conrad recently confirmed three LMPD officers were stuck by needles.

She brought up the point that by preventing the spread of disease and getting dirty needles off the street, this program will help protect healthcare workers, EMS employees and officers.

Participants can keep their confidentiality, even as the program collects data like age, race and zip code.

The plan is to expand and have more needle exchange locations across Jefferson County in the future.

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