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Editorial: Needle exchanges must benefit entire community

Staff WriterMay 24, 2019

A study by Johns Hopkins University has found that the suspension of the syringe exchange program in Kanawha County “fundamentally changed the health landscape” for intravenous drug users in many negative ways.

Since the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department ended its syringe exchange in 2018, Charleston’s IV drug-using population is now injecting with used syringes more frequently; it has less access to naloxone, the drug used to reverse an opioid overdose; and users are less likely to be tested for HIV in what the study now calls “a new era of increased risks for acquiring bloodborne infections and overdose,” according to the study.

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