Are Needle-exchanges the Answer?

By Richard Nelson

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May 22, 2017

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Kentucky has 32 needle exchange programs where dirty needles used by drug addicts are swapped out for clean ones. The legislature authorized this program in 2015, which allows local health departments to create needle exchanges to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV. But  Kentucky is divided on whether publicly-funded needle exchanges are a good idea. A recent poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that 43 percent of Kentuckians oppose the program.  Their concern is that it enables a self-destructive activity with the help of public tax dollars. The scourge of Kentucky's drug crisis has taken far too many lives and destroyed too many homes so efforts to address the abuse are a good thing. But it remains questionable if needle-exchange programs are the right way to go.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center