Health

The opioid epidemic was front and center last year, after a small Indiana county had a surge in new HIV cases related to intravenous drug use.

As a result, the Indiana State Department declared a public health emergency in Scott County, Indiana, about 35 miles from Louisville. The outbreak was centered in the small town of Austin.

In response, the county health department established a needle exchange program.

This time last year, WFPL News found Milton Engebretson, an Austin resident tasked with driving his church’s van around town and transporting people to the Community Outreach Center, where they could get tested for HIV, sign up for health insurance and exchange dirty needles for clean ones.

I went back to Austin last week to check in with Engebretson and see what progress the county has made in the past year. And I took another ride with Engebretson, who is still driving around the city looking for people to help.

On a recent day, he found Jenny, an HIV-positive woman looking for food, a permanent home and help beating her addiction.

Listen to her story in the audio player above.

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