LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) -The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s needle-exchange program will add a second weekday to better serve clients’ needs. The program is now open 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays in the Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room at 650 Newtown Pike. The free, anonymous and confidential program is designed to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis in Lexington. Used needles must be brought in to receive clean needles.
Since opening in September 2015, the needle-exchange program has collected more than 412,000 used needles and provided proper disposal, keeping them off sidewalks and streets and out of public places like community parks. More than 2,700 people have used the program, with an average of about 175 every Friday.
The Wednesday addition will offer free testing for hepatitis C and HIV by AVOL, along with on-site referrals to recovery programs from Bluegrass.org. On Fridays, the health department provides free testing and the Lexington Department of Social Services provides on-site referrals. A total of 128 people have been referred to counseling and recovery programs since April 2016.
Free Narcan, a prescription drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, is available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays, through a grant from Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health (a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health), and DrugFreeLex. Participants do not have to be part of the needle-exchange to receive the free Narcan kits.