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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

OP-ED: Needle Exchange Enables Drug Users

By Larry Robinson

Needle “Exchange” is not what the name implies! Campbell County does not need to enable drug users and potential users by giving away a “Drug Users Starter Pack” disguised as an exchange program.

At a recent Campbell County Tea Party meeting the contents of the package were shown to those in attendance.

The kit contains: Three new needles, rubber strap, cotton balls, cup and all the other necessary items a user needs to shoot up, see picture above.

Does the taxpayer really need to give supplies to the users, thus enabling their addiction?  Is it morally responsible for the taxpayer to help users inject drugs?

Nothing in this program attacks the real problem, DRUG ADDICTION.

Why do we not stay on target and spend this money, time, effort on work with our youth and teach them the dangers of using drugs, the danger of purchasing something from an unknown individual and injecting these items into their bodies.

I support Commissioner Coleman in voting against this program. I encourage Commissioner Painter to stand with the taxpayer and vote “NO.” I also call on Commissioner Lampe to recuse himself from this vote due to his conflict of serving on the board of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation on the Business Support Committee.

St. Elizabeth Hospital is a main backer of this program.

Larry Robinson is a Campbell County Resident and member of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party.


  1. BREAKING UPDATE....The health department plans to give away 40 needles at a time, per user, as disclosed at the last Campbell County Fiscal Court meeting!

  2. Syringe access exchange programs are a 1:1 ratio. They do not just hand out 40 needles. It's an exchange. And an amazing opportunity to get a user into treatment, and reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Facts are vital.

  3. I used to be against Needle Exchange Programs (NEP) for the same reasons. However, after looking into it a little more, NEPs actually reduce the spread of HEP-C and HIV. If addicts had a safe place to turn in needles, they would stop polluting our highways, streets, and neighborhoods with dirty needles. If instituted correctly, a NEP could offer resources to assist addicts with getting treatment. It gets them to stop in and talk to someone.

    So I do not necessarily agree that it actually enables. In the long long, I think it would actually save tax-payers money because we are not paying for long term care for the spread of disease. It also protects the public from getting stuck with a dirty needle.

  4. It's my understanding that the "starter pack" referenced here is not accurate, rather a description of a photo from the River City News. The program requires a 1-for-1 exchange and testing for diseases. I reference the RCN article for more information:

    I agree we need to educate people (not just youth) about heroin, but we also need a mechanism to disrupt the addiction process. Needle exchange programs are just 1 way to interact with addicts and possibly get them into treatment.

  5. Let's not be ignorant to actual research and studies performed by reputable organizations.

  6. For the addict to receive additional supplies they have to exchange the dirty needless,this gets the dirty needles out of parking lots, parks and other places someone may come into contact with them. The needle exchange also provides resources for addicts to get help. Needle exchanges also reduce the risk of Hep C amd HIV.Please
    support this program.

  7. I agree. We need to spend the money educating kids about the dangers of filling your physician's prescription for opioid painkillers that produce chemically identical effects to heroin. We also need to take money to educate kids about the dangers of choosing bad parents, or choosing to live in conditions of poverty, or choosing to be abused. We need to burn it into our kids' brains: you WILL NOT be a tax burden--we will not stand for it!

    Besides, giving needles will "enable" drug users when, if we just leave them to their own devices, the problem will go away by itself. Maybe they'll contract HIV or MRSA and die of that. Our tax dollars will be safe!

  8. A needle exchange program is beneficial for our community. The needle exchange will get dirty needles disposed of properly instead of them ending up in parking lots, parks or other places an accidental needlestick could occur potentially exposing someone to Hep C or HIV, addicts are offered resources for recovery every visit and clean needles decrease the very high risk of Hep C and HIV transmission.

  9. Umm, not sure what planet you're living on but people are already using heroin here in record numbers without a needle exchange. We also have record numbers of people getting sick with hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases due to needle sharing. Guess what? Even if they get off drugs, if they have a chronic disease it costs us money anyway. This is a program that will ultimately save the government money and save lives and will not cause any uptick in the use of drugs.

  10. Yes, "potential users" were surely just waiting for a free starter kit, and will now dive headlong into IV drug use.

    As for why we don't spend the money on prevention education, etc, we did that for about 20 years through the DARE program. It worked so well we are now in the current predicament.

    Your choices are drug users or drug users with myriad other health problems like hepatitis. Choose wisely.

  11. FACTS MATTER! Opinions vary... but luckily the facts are more solid and trustworthy! Could someone from the Tea Party please show me where the purpose of the Syringe Exchange Access Program is stated to reduce drug addiction? If they understood the program, they would know it can do so, but that’s not the sole purpose. The purpose of the Syringe Exchange Access Program is:

    The Syringe Exchange Access Program (Needle Exchange) is a public health program that reduces the spread of communicable diseases like hepatitis C and B and HIV in people who inject drugs, exchanges sterile syringes and needles for contaminated equipment, and properly disposes of contaminated equipment, while providing access to other health services, such as drug treatment, along with education, counseling and enrollment in health care coverage.

    The Health Department is required by statute to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and is uniquely positioned to provide a syringe access exchange program due to its facilities, qualified staff and on-going partnerships with the community.
    The Northern Kentucky Board of Health has approved the Syringe Access Exchange Program but other approvals are required, including local city approvals. We need to ask the leaders of Newport and Covington to open a public discussion concerning the Syringe Access Exchange Program! See the links below to contact the leaders of Newport and Covington, and ask that they allow an open forum to discuss the Syringe Access Exchange Program at their monthly council meetings as soon as possible.

    While some that oppose the program are not educated on the facts, the general public can indeed educate themselves before making rash, rude, decisions on supporting the program by reading the facts here:

  12. As an FYI the Health Department already gives away free condoms at gay bars.

  13. Monthly city council meetings are open discussions to start with. Why would one need to contact their local leaders and "ask permission" for such a discussion to take place? If you have to ask for permission to discuss issues that concern the city you live in, with the people who are in charge of handling those issues, at meetings designated for such discussions, then what is the purpose of a city council meeting in the first place? I'm scratching my head over here.

  14. Nichole- Former AddictApril 28, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    First things first, a heroin addict is going to use whether they are given access to needles or not. This is not a "starter pack". You must provide a needle to receive one. A lot of addicts are using medical cards provided by the state. So say this person contracts HIV, with no complications, which is very unlikely it is going to cost the states tens of thousands to treat this person. Multiply that by the people they inadvertently infect using regular insulin needles. The needles given out by this program have an almost complete flush. Bringing the likelihood of infection down dramatically. Also, when a person uses this exchange, they are being introduced to addiction specialists, offered STD screens, and pamphlets of places to go for help. This money saved can be better put towards medications, rehab programs, ect. No one is forcing these people to use. They will use till they either get clean or die.

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