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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Photos: Mobile Needle Exchange to Open at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care in Newport/Fort Thomas

John Mitchell, COO Fort Thomas, Covington, St. Elizabeth Healthcare. FTM file. 

The mobile syringe access exchange program was open to media and the public today in Newport, located at 1400 N. Grand Avenue in the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care parking lot today.

Officials from the NKY Health Department, St. Elizabeth and elected officials were on hand to give information to the public. In attendance were Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health; St. Elizabeth Healthcare leadership, including Garren Colvin, President and CEO, Dr. Dora Savani, Gary Blank, Vice President and COO, John Mitchell, COO Fort Thomas and Covington; Tom Lampe and Brian Painter, Campbell County Fiscal Court; and Ken Rechtin, Tom Fromme and Bev Holiday from the City of Newport.

After passing an ordinance two years ago which would allow the exchange to be open in Campbell County, Newport City Commission finally passed their own resolution, and chose this location with St. Elizabeth's blessing.

The preferred location, from the Campbell County Fiscal Court majority and the NKY Health Department, would have been at the Campbell County Health Center offices, located at 1098 Monmouth Street in Newport.

With the Newport Commission signing off on the plan, Covington will also be able to exchange syringes, as well as offer resources and sterile equipment for intravenous drug users.

While the Covington exchange is a one-for-one, meaning users must bring a needle to get a needle, that will not be a requirement at the Newport exchange. Officials say that they will use those opportunities to encourage additional testing like HIV tests and get them information on treatment. If users do not bring back needles to exchange three times, they will not be able to get new equipment. Depending on their usage rates, patients will be able to receive up to 40 needles at a time. Kits also include sterile water, gauze, band-aids, alcohol pads and a sharps container for used needles. Narcan is also available to take.

Northern Kentucky Health Department will run the mobile needle exchange units starting next week on July 24. The program is Northern Kentucky’s second; Grant County’s needle exchange program has referred over 100 people to treatment and distributed over 400 naloxone kits in its two years of operation.

The mobile unit, provided by Kentucky Fire Commission, will be parked at St. Elizabeth locations in Newport and Covington every Tuesday and Thursday.

“We are grateful to St. Elizabeth and to the Kentucky Fire Commission for partnering with us on this urgent public health matter. Their generosity means that those in need of these important and often life-saving services will have easier access to our syringe access exchange program,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health.

Nearly half of HIV infections in Northern Kentucky in 2017 came from injection drug use, according to data from state and local public health officials. Hepatitis C cases also increased 8.4 percent in 2017; about 1,404 cases of acute and non-acute Hepatitis C were reported last year.

The needle exchange program will operate on the following schedule:

1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care in Newport/Ft. Thomas at 1400 N. Grand Ave

1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Covington at 1500 James Simpson Jr. Way

Inside the mobile unit. 

Narcan is available to patients after being educated on how to use it. 

Sharps containers will be given out to safely transport used needles. 

The Insti HIV kit can test patients for HIV is one minute. 

This is an example of a kit that may be given out. 

Campbell County Commissioners Brian Painter and Tom Lampe, with Bev Holiday, listening to one of the NKY Health nurses on staff. 

Dr. Lynne Sadler was on hand to talk about the need of the exchange. She noted that they are willing to earn the trust of the neighbors and to ensure the safety of those around the exchanges. 

The Kentucky Fire Commission is allowing the NKY Health Department to use the mobile units on an ongoing basis at no cost. These units are deployed in emergency scenarios and rarely used, so the public employees pulled together to get these units up and running. 

Located at 1400 N. Grand Avenue in Newport. 

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