Anderson Township Needle Exchange

Proposed Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program is Topic of 3 Public Meetings

Comprehensive harm reduction and syringe exchange program under discussion would be collaborative effort with township, county and non-profit agencies

Anderson Township residents are invited to learn more about a proposed Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program at a series of three public meetings set for January 24 and January 30.

The Anderson Township Board of Trustees is seeking community comment on a collaborative harm reduction and syringe exchange program that would operate in Anderson Township one-half day per week and be run by Hamilton County Public Health. Sites currently under consideration include township-owned property located at 6835 Kellogg Ave., 8330 Broadwell Road and Mercy Health-Anderson Hospital.

Residents can learn more and provide comments during these upcoming public discussions:

Wednesday, Jan. 24 – 3 p.m. at Anderson Senior Center, 7970 Beechmont Ave.,

Wednesday, Jan. 24 – 6:30 p.m. Anderson Center Community Meeting Room, 7850 Five Mile Road,

Tuesday, January 30 – 6:30 p.m., Anderson Center Theater, 7850 Five Mile Road.

Trustee President Josh Gerth, who has been active in working toward solutions for the region’s opioid and heroin crisis, noted that, “The dramatic rise in diseases due to the opioid and heroin epidemic cannot be ignored. This issue has no boundaries,” he said.

“We will dedicate as much thoughtfulness and planning to address this as we do in all other critical areas we are responsible for,” he said. “Therefore, it's imperative our residents get informed and provide feedback on how we might formally address an issue that impacts us all.”

According to Vicky Earhart, township administrator, the syringe exchange initiative under discussion provides a host of services geared toward “comprehensive harm reduction and disease prevention through education and testing, plus substance user referrals, disposal and exchange of injection equipment and access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.”

“Statistics show one year of this program costs less than treating one case of HIV or four cases of Hepatitis C,” Earhart said. “Significant studies have shown that these programs do not increase drug use, but in fact actually help to reduce bloodborne infections and diminish other health risks.”

The proposed program would be a collaborative effort between Anderson Township, Hamilton County Public Health, the City of Cincinnati Health Department, Clermont County Public Health, Northern Kentucky Health Department, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Mercy Health, Interact for Health, Caracole, and the Hamilton County Sheriff.