public health initiative in Hamilton County to reduce the spread of
diseases through needle sharing reports a quarter of its client base
travels down from Butler County.
Libby Harrison, program manager
at Cincinnati Exchange Project, said the advocacy agency opened its door
in January in an effort to combat the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.
The agency offers drug addicts a safe place for a one-to-one exchange of
used syringes for clean syringes.
“People who come to us are
already drug addicts,” Harrison said. “Our goal is disease prevention
and to be happy to see them to build a sense of trust for when they’re
ready for treatment.”
After a heated discussion, the Lower Price Hill Community Council
voted Monday to bar the Cincinnati Exchange, a syringe exchange program,
from its streets.
Adam Reilly, a Planned Parenthood HIV program
coordinator who works for Cincinnati Exchange, tried to convince
residents, saying needle exchanges are part of a three-part solution:
Prevention, harm reduction (including the exchange) and treatment.
are part of a larger solution,” Reilly said. “Meeting people where they
are, keeping them safe until they can move onto … treatment and
After getting the state’s third needle exchange program underway –
more than two decades after efforts began – Cincinnati Exchange is
without a home, its mobile van indefinitely mothballed, booted from the
city of Springdale and facing the ire of leaders in a dozen other
Now, lines are being drawn in Lower Price Hill, Deer
Park, Mariemont, Sharonville and elsewhere even as state legislators are
considering making it easier for the creation of such programs.
disputes come as an unprecedented and well-documented heroin problem,
coupled with abuse of prescription opiates, has contributed to sharp
increases in hepatitis C and HIV infections in the region.
The first syringe exchange program in Hamilton County launched Feb. 10 in a Springdale shopping center, and the medical RV being used to combat the spread of HIV and hepatitis by heroin addicts could travel to other communities.
Called the Cincinnati Exchange Project, the public health initiative also is intended to encourage addicts to enter drug rehab programs, according to Dr. Judith Feinberg, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati who is medical director of the project.