Needle Exchange Could Be Close in Northern Kentucky

The Northern Kentucky Health Department will consider a resolution moving forward a possible needle exchange program in the region.

The department's board meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District in Florence.

In an email exchange Wednesday morning, department spokesperson Emily Gresham Wherle said that if the resolution is adopted by the Board of Health, the department would work with city and county governments to determine a location.

A location has not yet been determined.

The new state law designed to combat heroin use in Kentucky allows for needle exchanges to be implemented in jurisdictions that authorize them. Louisville, which recently allowed such a program and is the first in the state to do so, saw its program begin on Wednesday.

Needle exchanges, or syringe access programs as the Health Department calls them, must be approved by the city and county in which they are placed. "If the Board of Health approves, then we would work with county and city governments to determine location, and get approval from the fiscal court and city government in which the program would operate, as required by state law," Gresham Wherle told The River City News.

Needle exchange programs are often cited as ways to combat diseases related to the use of intravenous drugs, like HIV and Hepatitis C.

-Staff report