Floyd County Fiscal Court discusses needle exchange during meeting


By Andrea Saddler - asaddler@civitasmedia.com



Thursa Sloan, with the Floyd County Health Department talks to the Fiscal Court about the Needle Exchange Program.


PRESTONSBURG – The Floyd County Fiscal Court met for a regular meeting on Friday. During the meeting, the court discussed and approved its emergency 911 report, jail report and solid waste report.

Also, the court discussed its annual fall cleanup, which is set to begin in October.

Floyd County Judge-Executive Ben Hale explained to citizens that the district is waiting on flex funds to be released from Frankfort before it can approve any road repairs. According to Hale, the county has $140,000 in flex funds it intends to use for specific road improvements. The county needs a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Transportation before any work can be done.

The court accepted sealed bids for surplus equipment no longer in use by the county. The county received one bid for a surplus snowplow for $550 and one bid for a salvage truck bed for $400 from H. C. Construction. The court voted unanimously to accept both bids.

The Big Sandy Area Development District applied on behalf of the Floyd County Fiscal Court and was awarded a grant in the amount of $16,350 for Elkhorn Park from the Recreations Trails Program. Regina McClure from BSADD spoke to the court about the details of the grant. The grant is a matching grant where a portion of the funds must be raised by the Elkhorn Park Commission. All work on the trails around the Elkhorn Park will be done by the Elkhorn Park Commission.

The court voted unanimously to accept a road in District One known as Powers Lane and another road known as Osborne Lane in District Two.

The next item on the agenda was the consideration to accept Senate Bill 192 – the Needle Exchange Program as part of a needed component to fight not only the war on addiction but also the spread of disease. Thursa Sloan, Director of the Floyd County Health Department came before the court to show the need for a Needle Exchange Program in Floyd County.

“The Center for Disease Control did a vulnerability study to determine what areas were vulnerable to rapid dissemination of HIV/HCV and Infection among people who injects drugs,” Sloan stated. “Floyd County ranked 10th in the nation. The syringe exchange program is intended to slow the spread of disease Hepatitis C and HIV. The Hepatitis C virus can live on a surface for up to six weeks. This is a disease that is taking hold of the community and is on the verge of an epidemic among IV drug users.”

Hale introduced Clinton Thomas, a peer support specialist at Mountain Comprehensive Care. Thomas spoke the night before at the drug court graduation ceremony and talked about his struggles with addiction.

“October 3, 2013 is a day I will never forget,” said Thomas. “It is the day I decided to take control of my life and get clean. I am now in recovery but I remember the many times driving down the road after injecting a drug and tossing the needle out the window. I had no care about who might come along and pick up the needle or where I was tossing it out. The needle exchange program is a program that will not enable addicts to do drugs, it will enable addicts to maybe live a life without the constant routine of daily medication. I have Hep C and I remember the moment I got it. I was feeling bad and needed something really bad and a girl down the street whom I knew had Hep C had the only needle I could find. I didn’t care about the risk I was taking by using her needle. I only knew I needed my fix. This program has the potential to save lives.”

According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, the cost of medications for one course of treatment for Hepatitis C is $84, 000 and left untreated may progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure requiring a transplant. The cost for treating HIV infection, a lifelong chronic disease, is $600,000, and for every $1 spent on a Syringe Access Exchange Program, $3-$7 is saved on costs associated with HIV infection.

“We are not enabling, we are hoping to avoid a health crisis,” said Keith Bartley.

The court voted unanimously to accept the needle exchange program. The Floyd County Health Department will work with Rachael Willoughby of Mountain Comprehensive Care to develop and implement the program. Health Department officials hope to have the program up and running by December 2016 but no later than January 2017.

Thursa Sloan, with the Floyd County Health Department talks to the Fiscal Court about the Needle Exchange Program.
http://floydcountytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Needle2.jpgThursa Sloan, with the Floyd County Health Department talks to the Fiscal Court about the Needle Exchange Program.

By Andrea Saddler

asaddler@civitasmedia.com

Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.

Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.

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