Clark County Fiscal Court approved a needle-exchange program in a 4-2 vote at its Wednesday meeting, said Judge-Executive Henry Branham.
Under the program, addicts exchange used needles for clean, sterile ones at the local health department. The goal is to slow the spread of hepatitis and HIV, which can be passed from one person to another through shared needles.
The program will start by June 1 and possibly sooner, said Scott Lockard, public health director at the Clark County Health Department.
Winchester City Commission had already given its approval to a one-year pilot program. Both the city and county want a report from health department in January about the results of the program.
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“It’s a great attempt to address the health issues we have,” Branham said. “We have an increasing amount of needles on the ground. We’ve actually found them here at the courthouse. The last one we found was on the concrete of the sidewalk.”
Branham and magistrates Sheila McCord, Robert Blanton and Pamela Blackburn voted for the program. Magistrates Daniel Konstantopolous and Matt Brinegar voted against it. Magistrate Joe Graham was absent.