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    Beyond Drug Culture: Louisville's Syringe Exchange Program
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    The Syringe Exchange Program marks Louisville's participation in a growing global trend in government that seeks to approach drug abuse as a medical condition instead of simply as a criminal activity. By providing free syringes, HIV testing, and health education, the program will “help to prevent the spread of blood borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C in our community,” according to Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of Public Health and Wellness. In turn, the program will navigate participants toward treatment, serving the patient on an individual level as well as the community at large.

    Cities around the world have witnessed decreases in HIV after implementing exchange programs. In the U.S., Washington D.C. saw an eighty percent decrease in HIV cases linked to drug use over a four-year span. Similar results have been reported across the country.

    Understanding the big picture is essential to understanding the purpose of the exchange. While intravenous drug use promotes the spread of blood borne diseases among drug users, sexual partners of those injecting drugs are put at risk of becoming infected and possibly transmitting disease to their children. The consequences are not confined to “drug culture.” They reach throughout our community.

    The Syringe Exchange Program is the first of its kind in Kentucky since the recent legislation giving local health departments the right to form such programs. The exchange provides services Monday through Saturday from a mobile unit on Gray Street next to Public Health and Wellness headquarters.

    Jeremiah Ashcraft's picture

    About Jeremiah Ashcraft

    I live and write in Louisville, KY. I studied philosophy and religion in college. For some strange reason, I assumed I would spend my life working a nine-to-five. However, I could never fully come to terms with being on a routine, so I decided to become a writer.

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