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Health

Bowling Green is One Step Closer to Starting Needle Exchange Program

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The leader of Bowling Green-based health group says a needle exchange for intravenous drug users is the best way to fight the state’s addiction problems.

Dennis Chaney, director of the Barren River District Health Department, is applauding the Bowling Green city commission’s decision Tuesday to approve a needle exchange program.

The exchange must now be approved by Warren County Fiscal Court. It has already been authorized by the Warren County Board of Health.

Chaney said he understands those who feel a needle exchange will enable drug users.

But he thinks it’s the best way to break down barriers and start the healing process.

“The opportunity is for those folks who would participate in the program, the responsibility is for us to try to develop a relationship with those folks just like what you may have and you may enjoy with your primary care physician,” Chaney said.

The needle exchange program would allow participants to get tested for H-I-V, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Addicts could also learn about resources to help them.

Chaney said the Barren River District Health Department has wanted to implement a needle exchange in Bowling Green ever since state lawmakers passed a bill year allowing local municipalities to approve such programs.

Chaney says the effort will allow Bowling Green to “get dirty needles out of the environment to protect all of us. Get clean needles into the hands of those injection drug users so they’re minimizing their risk or their temptation to share."

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