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Public Health Board votes in favor of needle exchange program

By KERRY STEINHOFER

kerry.steinhofer@amnews.com

As the number of drug-related deaths continues to rise in Boyle County, the Boyle County Health Department has been working on trying to get a needle exchange program. 

The health department presented the program to the Boyle County Public Heath Board Wednesday, which concluded with a unanimous vote. The vote means the Public Health Board will support their efforts in moving forward with the program. 

Since the program was approved by the Public Health Board, the BCHD can now present the program to be approved by the Danville City Commission and Boyle County Fiscal Court. In order for BCHD to continue the process, City Commission, Fiscal Court and the Board of Health have to approve the program. 

The program will be presented at Danville City Commission on Monday, Sept. 26 and at Fiscal Court on Tuesday, Sept. 27. 

While the BCHD is still waiting for final approvals, they have already constructed a basic outline of what the program would look like. 

As of now, the program is scheduled to be held 1-3 p.m. Fridays at the Boyle County Health Department Basement Conference Room. There will be one BCHD nurse and one outside person who is trained in this area. 

The Ephraim McDowell Medical Center has agreed to partner with the health department in supplying syringes and educational materials along with the health department. 

In order to fund the program, Boyle County ASAP Director Kathy Miles and BCHD Director Brent Blevins have applied for an ASAP grant to receive $15,000. 

“If we get the $15,000 that would put us at about $20,000, give or take, to get the needle exchange program off the ground,” Blevins previously said at an ASAP meeting. 

Miles previously said at the meeting there was money left over in their budget that would be carried over to help start the program. 

“I think $20,000 is a great start for the program,” Blevins said. 

The health department hopes to hear by late October whether or not they have received the grant for the program. 

ASAP will continue to apply for funding and support as needed once the program is started and other financial needs come. Other partners and agencies have also voiced their willingness to help support the program.