Health Issues Poll: Kentucky adults still divided on needle exchange programs


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ)- About half of Kentucky adults favor programs that allow people who use intravenous drugs to exchange used needles for sterile ones, while about 40 percent oppose such programs, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll report.

Generally, the more familiar Kentucky adults are with needle exchange programs, the more likely they are to support exchanges as a strategy to reduce the transmission of HIV and other viruses, the report also found. In addition, Kentucky adults with more education, those who live in urban areas, and those ages 18 to 29 are most likely to favor needle exchanges.

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KHIP is an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults about health and health-policy issues; it is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.

The stigma of drug use and addiction can often lead to opposition for needle exchanges and other harm-reduction strategies, the Foundation said.

Opinion in Kentucky has remained steady since the last time KHIP included the needle exchange questions in 2016. There was, however, a nine-percentage point reduction in opposition to needle exchange programs, from 50 percent to 41 percent, among Kentucky adults who felt they were not very familiar with such programs.

A copy of the KHIP reportis available here. For more information about needle exchange programs and a list of program locations in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Department for Public Health website here.