Needle exchanges were among the most debated elements of the heroin bill approved this year by the Kentucky General Assembly. Across the Ohio River, Indiana only allowed a needle exchange in Scott County after an HIV outbreak.
In March, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order temporarily allowing a needle exchange program. So far, 250 people have visited the Scott County needle exchange and 10,484 needles have been provided, according to health officials.
Now, Louisville Metro Health is preparing to open a needle exchange program in the city this summer in response to a surge in heroin abuse.
I talked to Louisville area residents about their views on the upcoming needle exchange program. Here’s what they said:
“It’s a drug problem here, too. The same epidemic there is in Indiana, it can happen here, too. So, I don’t have a problem with it.” – Gerald Edwards, Southern Parkway
“You’re promoting them to use drugs. If they come in and exchange needles, you should arrest them right there for using the needles to start with.” – Bobby Hawkins, Taylorsville
“We need to have empathy for people. I think it’s a good program.” – Julie Brunner, Crestwood
“I don’t think it’s a left or right issue. I think it’s merely an issue of public safety, public health.” – Kurt Scharfenberger, Lake Forest