LFCHD needle-exchange to add on-site referral to rehab services
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington’s successful needle-exchange program will soon be adding another service: on-site referrals to rehabilitation programs.
Amy Baker, the program administrator with the city’s Substance Abuse and Violence Intervention program, will be available 1:30-3:30 p.m. Fridays at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s needle-exchange at 650 Newtown Pike.
“Addiction can not only destroy the life of the person with the active addiction, but also the lives of those around them,” said Baker, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the substance abuse field. “Recovery is possible for everyone and access to recovery should be readily available for whoever is ready to begin the process. It is imperative that those looking for life-saving substance abuse treatment are given every opportunity to access it. The process of navigating the substance use disorder system can be intimidating and difficult for a person to do alone.”
The health department’s needle-exchange program is held 1:30-4 p.m. every Friday. The free, anonymous and confidential program is designed to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis in Lexington. Used needles must be brought in to receive clean needles. Since opening Sept. 4, the program has received 10,297 used needles and given out 10,803 clean needles.
“Our program has been successful since Day One by fighting the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV,” said LFCHD spokesman Kevin Hall. “Many of the people using our needle-exchange program have asked for information on referrals for treatment and we’re excited to work with Amy to provide this much-needed service. Mayor Jim Gray, the Urban County Council and Commissioner Chris Ford should be applauded for recognizing this need and actively finding ways to meet it for the community.”
“The partnership between the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Department of Social Services and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is an example of two agencies coming together to better provide access to help those searching for life-saving substance abuse treatment resources,” Baker added.
The program also offers testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and educational materials. Referrals and counseling can be made available for those who test positive for HIV.