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Louisville And Lexington Two Different Test Cases For Needle Exchanges


Needle exchange programs may be optional for local communities thanks to this year’s sweeping heroin legislation enacted by the General Assembly, but questions remain about just what that means.

When Louisville officials crafted their city's needle exchange, the first in the state, they opted for what’s called a “needs based negotiation" -  a system that permits health officials to hand out clean needles to drug users even if no dirty needles are presented.

GOP leaders, including Senate President Robert Stivers, argue that's a problem because it could inadvertently increase drug usage. But Democratic Rep. John Tilley tells cn|2 the law was crafted to provide flexibility to local communities.

"I think what you're seeing in Louisville and Lexington is what I envisioned, which is Louisville deciding under certain medical protocol to run their program on a need based model and Lexington unanimously approving an exchange, more of a one or one-plus exchange," he said.

Lexington health officials plan to have the city's exchange up and running by Labor Day.

Stivers says the General Assembly should reconsider the language in the provision, barring communities from adopting the Louisville model.

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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