State should play big part in syringe program

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Officials in Cabell County have been working for months on ways to respond to the impact of a skyrocketing heroin addiction problem in the region, one that’s also reflective of what’s happening in many other parts of West Virginia.

Leading the way have been officials with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and the Huntington Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, with about 30 other partner agencies also involved. The focus has been on establishing what health officials call a harm reduction program that not only hopes to steer addicts toward treatment and recovery but also provide a syringe-exchange program so that needles are not reused and contributing to the spread of hepatitis and setting the stage for an outbreak of HIV.

The health department’s board approved the syringe-exchange program on June 25, setting an expected start date of Sept. 1 for the state’s first syringe-exchange initiative.

What seemed to be lacking was state involvement, at least publicly. That finally changed on July 2…

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