|Kevin Sell. Provided.|
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.