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Monday, April 25, 2016

OP-ED: Campbell County Needs Needle Exchange Now

Kevin Sell. Provided. 
By Kevin Sell

The Campbell County Fiscal Court has had no less than two meetings in recent weeks where testimony, supporting and opposing, has been provided for this issue.  I appreciate the leadership of Judge Steve Pendery and Commissioner Tom Lampe in their support of this measure, but it does take at least three to pass a motion.  The statistics are credible and the evidence to support needle exchanges is compelling, however we still need that one vote.

If you have been watching the meeting on cable, or reading the coverage in local media, you know that Commissioner Charlie Coleman remains firmly opposed along with his friends in the tea party represented by Erik Hermes.  They apparently cannot find evidence to suggest a needle exchange will prevent disease.  I can tell you that plenty of information is available and right from our very own District Health Department (Over 800 cases of Hepatitis C in 2014 alone).  Even more information is available from the State of Indiana where they are trying to manage a HIV outbreak that is largely due to needle sharing.

Every citizen in our county should be concerned about the spread of Hepatitis B & C, and HIV, that is stemming, for the most part, from IV drug use.  As a retired Firefighter, EMT, and Paramedic with more than 20 years of service, I am greatly concerned about our public safety professionals being subject to this additional exposure.  For those concerned about cost, a needle exchange is a lot cheaper than disease management and disability.

You probably noticed I left one Commissioner out in this discussion thus far, Brian Painter.  He is on the fence and seems to have conditions to his support, but that is not enough and far from a “yes” vote.

We need the needle exchange program and we need it now.

Kevin Sell is CVO of United Group Services in Cincinnati and lives in Alexandria.  He retired from the Airport Fire Department in 2005.


  1. Steve Frank Vice Mayor of Covington KYApril 26, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    There are various proposals as to how a needle exchange is put together. As the lone no vote on the Covington City Commission; that vote was not made as a rejection of the need for a needle exchange but rather upon the conditions under which such an exchange operates. We in Kenton County will only countenance a one for one exchange of needles that may actually get discarded needles off the streets as opposed to the desire of the health department that we'd hand out 40 needles for each needle returned. Statistics are that if you hand out 40 needles, only 32 are returned which simply adds to the number of needles that lie infected in our parks and alleys. I further objected to a watering down of Covington's regulations requiring testing for HIV, Hepatitis C and pregnancy. Without this data there cannot be proof that a needle exchange is actually reducing the incidence of these diseases in a scientific and empirical way rather than simply taking what we are being told at face value on anecdotes. ... Steve Frank Vice Mayor, Covington Kentucky

  2. Thank You Charlie Coleman for your common sense stand on this issue!