The Barren River District Health Department has started offering anonymous needle exchange services in Warren and Barren Counties. Those services will now extend to the City of Russellville.

Russellville’s City Council recently passed support for the services to help addicts get the necessary counseling they need, as well as curve transmittable disease and clean the streets of dirty needles.

The program will be on-site at the Russellville City Police Department but there will soon be a Mobile Exchange Unit that will visit the participating areas. No ID is required and an appointment is not necessary to use these services. The program offers free, confidential HIV & Hep testing as well.

Russellville Police Chief Todd Raymer attended an informational meeting at the beginning of the year to learn more about the program.

“I give a thumbs up to this program,” said Raymer. “I highly encourage it. If you can get dirty needles off the street, get them off the street.”

Raymer says an addict can come in and exchange a dirty needle for a clean one. At that time they are given information about addiction and an opportunity to see a counselor. This program will not cost the city any money, said the chief.

“A dirty needle is not going to stop somebody that is an addict. The odds of passing a transmittable disease go up dramatically the more people who use the same syringe,” said Raymer adding the Barren River District Health Department is trying to reduce bloodborne diseases that Kentuckians have seen go up and up in the past few years as needle drug use has gone up.

Raymer said Heroin is marching across the state according to our drug task force and they are seeing some here.

“Consequently, the needles we see on our streets are going up,” Raymer said.

The chief stressed that needle exchange is just a small part of the program and that most of the funds spent are going for counseling services.

To learn more about our mobile exchange, call 270-781-8039.