Cherokee hopes to combat the high Hepatitis C rates resulting from the heroin epidemic with a needle exchange program, aiming to have the program in place by Oct. 1.
“We’ve sat here and we’ve talked about ways to assist and help our communities. Talk is talk is talk. It’s time for action,” said Councilmember Teresa McCoy, of Big Cove, as she introduced legislation June 1 authorizing the tribe’s Public Health and Human Services Department to seek funding for a needle exchange program.
The program would give drug addicts a place to dispose of their used needles and leave with a clean needle, as well as instructions for how to avoid contracting diseases as a result of drug use. The center would also provide direct referrals to treatment and behavioral health for participants who are ready to seek help.