Lexington's needle exchange program, aimed at reducing the health impact of addicts sharing needles, will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 4.
"This thing is going to work, and it is going to do good," Lexington Health Commissioner Dr. Rice Leach said.
The needle-exchange program will operate out of the health department building at 650 Newtown Pike. It will be available from 1:30 to 4 p.m. every Friday, when the health department clinic has traditionally been closed. This will help protect the privacy of those seeking needles, Leach said.
A recent change in state law allowed health departments across Kentucky to begin exchange programs. Addicts bring in used needles and get clean, sterile ones in exchange. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, along with Louisville, were among the first in the state to create a plan.
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The goal is to curb the spread of hepatitis and HIV, which can be passed from one person to another through shared needles. Concern about such blood-borne diseases has risen along with heroin use in Fayette County and across the commonwealth in the past few years.