by Rachel Adkins | The Daily Independent –
ASHLAND Kentuckians who are familiar with needle exchange programs are more likely to favor them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.
Fifty-six percent of Kentucky adults said they were familiar with needle exchange programs and 49 percent favored the programs. Forty-three percent opposed them and 8 percent said they weren’t sure.
Nearly six in 10 adults who were very or somewhat familiar with needle exchange programs favored such programs (59 percent). Thirty-seven percent were opposed.
Fewer than four in 10 adults who were not very or not at all familiar with needle exchange programs favored such programs (37 percent). Fifty percent were opposed and 13 percent were not sure.
Income levels didn’t affect opinions about needle exchanges, but age did: Adults older than 64 were less likely to approve of them.
“Research tells us that needle exchange programs can help cut down on the spread of HIV and hepatitis C,” Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President and CEO Ben Chandler said. “Research also indicates that these programs do not increase drug use. Kentucky is facing a substance use crisis. The legislature authorized needle exchanges in 2015, and now, nearly two dozen communities are using them to combat the public health issues that accompany opioid and heroin addiction.”
Since opening July 1, the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department needle exchange at The Neighborhood has seen 218 unduplicated clients and has averaged 25 clients per week since January, according to the department’s website. Of the unduplicated clients, 43 percent have self-reported that they are hepatitis C positive.
A total of 16,990 syringes have been returned to the exchange.
KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults about health issues and is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health.
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