PRESTONSBURG – The Floyd County Fiscal Court voted 3-1 to approve adopt the state needle exchange program. Floyd County magistrate Randy Davis voted against the program.
“I feel this is an important matter that we should have taken more time and looked into all options available,” Davis said. “I am not opposed to the program completely. I just feel there are diabetics in the community that have trouble obtaining their diabetic supplies and needles, and now we are going to offer needles free of charge for a drug program. I also think we should have brought in others from different areas that have adopted the program and looked at what they did right and what they feel they could have done better, before we jumped in head first.”
Some residents have also voiced their concerns on the highly controversial topic.
“Why do they have to start out with so many needles?,” Lois Hamilton, of Banner, questioned. “Why not start with 10 needles, instead of 70? The program has good points, but I think we should have looked at the details without just approving the program how it stands.”
Supporters of the program say the focus is not on the drug abuse aspect, but rather on the health aspect that makes the needle exchange so important.
“We are not working to put needles in the hands of drug users,” said Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley. “We are implementing the program to avoid a possible health crisis.”
Supporters of the program say the implementation of the needle exchange will hopefully combat the growing number of Hepatitis C and HIV cases in the community.
The program was approved by both the Floyd County Fiscal Court and Prestonsburg City Council. The Floyd County Health Department is currently working to get the program up and running by the end of the year.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.