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The Monroe County Council has passed a resolution in support of establishing a needle-exchange program in the county. County Health Department Administrator, Penny Caudill, explained that this program is needed to respond to a Hepatitis C epidemic in the county.
” It’s proved very successful in getting people in, getting them into treatment, they found that they needed a whole host of services that they were able to make connections and linkages to.”
“In May the Legislation Senate Enrollment Act 461 was passed that enables local health departments to request needle exchange programs.”
Caudill says that her department has found a significant increase in Hepatitis C cases in the county. She noted that most of the infections are due to sharing of needles by drug users. In response to a question from Council member Shelli Yoder, Caudill explained how she expects to fund the needle exchange program.
“..So primarily it’s about looking for foundation money, local money, and donations that people are willing to do.”
Caudill estimated the program could cost $50,000. The council unanimously approved the resolution in support of the program. There will be a public comment session on the proposal at the September 4th meeting of the County Commissioners. If the Commissioners approve, the County Health Department would then seek approval from the state Health Commissioner.