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Lexington Needle Exchange Draws Nine On First Day

Josh James

Lexington health officials are calling the first week of the city’s new needle exchange program a success, though the initial 2 ½ hour window saw participant levels in the single digits.

After an initial burst of five participants in the first half-hour Friday, Health Department workers ushered four more drug users through the exchange over the next two hours. Those nine participants dropped off 259 used needles and walked out with 170 clean needles. Department spokesperson Kevin Hall says planners intended the program to start small.

"The expectation is that each week we will see growth, see those numbers increase, as the word filters out among the drug users in the community that this is a safe environment," he says.

Hall stresses that building that trust will take time. Ultimately, the program will be judged on whether it helps keep HIV, Hepatitis C, and other infections in check in the community.

The second round starts this Friday at 1:30 p.m. and lasts until 4 p.m.

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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