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Planning Continues On Lexington Needle Exchange Program


Health officials have delivered a preliminary plan for a needle-exchange program to the Lexington-Fayette Board of Health.

Under the plan, drug users could obtain clean needles at the health department building on Newtown Pike. Health Commissioner Dr. Rice Leach says officials are working on ways to protect the identity of users who might use the program.

"It would provide an entrance to the health department that is a customer entrance, but it's not the main entrance with the regular waiting room," he explains.

In an effort to generate that atmosphere of trust, Dr. Leach has been meeting with users to craft a program they will feel comfortable utilizing.

"They reinforce very clearly the point that trusting the system to do the right thing and allowing them to take advantage of this service without fear of being arrested or observed or things like... was very important to them," he says.

A state law passed in March allows state health departments and local governments to create needle-exchange programs to stem Kentucky's growing rates of hepatitis and HIV.

The preliminary plan is under review by law enforcement, treatment centers, and city officials. Further discussions on the recommendations are slated for June 19.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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