GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. — The Greenup County Health Department (GCHD) Board of Health met Dec. 1, at the McConnell House in Wurtland, Ky. Approving the final resolution of the syringe exchange program was top priority, according Chris Crum, director of GCHD.
“Passing the resolution was the most important thing for us,” Crum said. “They’d actually approved pursuing the needle exchange last year with the state looking at going either from more than two to one, or 20 to one ratio of needles exchanged as opposed to the one to one that some of the legislators felt like was what they were accepting when they voted on it. We decided to hold off on finalizing our needle exchange program until everything was settled, so that is kind of the reason that we put it off somewhat.”
Efforts to construct a syringe program have been in the works during the course of this year.
“Once we realized that the Legislator didn’t really change anything, over the past year we have been working on it, and finalizing it to compose a final resolution,” he said. “It is not the full policy and procedure, but gives a description of the syringe program. I will be taking the resolution to be passed by the Greenup Fiscal Court, that is what the state of Kentucky requires, that the Fiscal Court approve the needle exchange, but also that the City Government where the needle exchange resides, also approve it. So, that would be the next step when the Fiscal Court approves it, then I move on to the Greenup City Council and have them approve it.”
The syringe exchange program Boyd County, Ky. is currently operative, according to Crum.
“Boyd County already has one up and running, and they have some statistics concerning a significant number of Greenup residents that are traveling all the way to Boyd County to use their needle exchange program,” he said. “We really don’t have any data from Portsmouth to see if there is anybody on the other end of Greenup that’s using their exchange program from Greenup County, but we do know that needles are being exchanged, and Greenup County residents are using those services.”
GCHD endeavors to keep residents of Greenup safe, and wants to get their own program operating as soon as possible.
“We would like to provide these services, and keep our residents safe from Hepatitis C, and HIV,” he said. “This is definitely to reduce the onset of acute Hepatitis(HEP) C, and prolong long term costs of chronic Hep C, and approximate cost of treatment for the course of one of those. For Hep C it is approximately between $90,000 to $100,000, and so our county cannot afford to have those funds exiting at a rate like that. If it is anything like what has been seen, in southern Indiana and some of the metro areas of Kentucky.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.