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Creation Date

Spring 2016

Department

Health Promotion and Administration

Description

A syringe exchange program (SEP) offers free sterile syringes for injection-drug users (IDUs) and collects used syringes to reduce the transmission of blood-borne pathogens, particularly HIV and Hepatitis B/C (CDC, 2010). In addition to the basic SEP, some programs offer counseling and testing as well as referrals to substance abuse treatment facilities (CDC, 2010). Providing inclusive prevention services for IDUs can benefit in the reduction of blood-borne pathogens and should enhance access to substance abuse treatment and health care, thus aiding as a successful public health approach (CDC, 2010).The purpose of this study was to assess community members’ opinions on implementing a SEP in a rural Kentucky county. Seventy four surveys measuring attitudes, perceptions and beliefs regarding a SEP were completed by three groups of community members: current and previous drug users (n=19), parents of current and previous drug users (n = 8), and community stakeholders (n = 47). The majority of the participants, 64%, were in favor of implementing a SEP in their county. Further data analysis may demonstrate the perceived need for a SEP that includes HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis testing in order to reduce the prevalence of these diseases and heroin overdose.

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