New data available on needle exchange

The Clark County Board of Health reported new data collected from the Clark County Needle Exchange program at its meeting Thursday.

Per a suggestion from the last quarterly meeting, the board added new questions to its survey it administers to participants in the needle exchange program.

Jennifer Gulley, community health coordinator at Clark County Health Department, said they recently began asking about the number of times people inject a day.

According to the data collected since July, about 53 percent of participants in the needle exchange program injected drugs about three to four times a day. About 9 percent reported they injected nine or more times a day.

Overall, the needle exchange program has served about 345 people. About 57 new participants have exchanged needles since July. More than 60 percent of participants cited methamphetamine as their drug of choice, with heroin and other opiates as the second and third drugs of choice.

About 58 percent of the participants said they use alone while about 32 percent said they share needles.

About 68 percent of participants said they reuse syringes; 25 percent reported they had previously overdosed and 47 percent said they live with a user.

Gulley reported the presence of peer support specialists from Achieving Recovery Together (ART) has been helpful to the program.

According to the Hepatitis A update, the health department administered vaccinations at the Clark County Detention Center, Beacon of Hope and Clark County Homeless Coalition.

Gulley also said the Clark County Activity Coalition is working to identify the impact of House Bill 487, which could require the coalition to charge the tax on the Wellness Challenge fee.

The health department and ART revamped the efforts with local EMS employees to develop procedures to report information to the health department when they respond to calls concerning substance abuse.

Carlene Whitt, an environmentalist with the health department, said she and another inspector completed about 40 health inspections over Labor Day weekend because of the high number of temporary food vendors.

Whitt also mentioned the upcoming rabies clinic Sept. 25 at the Clark County Veterinary Clinic on Hud Road. About 36 animals received rabies vaccinations at the previous clinic in July.

Whitt said she also received numerous mold complaints and a few mosquito complaints.

The next board meeting will be Dec. 13.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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