Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept. begins needle exchange program - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept. begins needle exchange program

(Source: AP) (Source: AP)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department started a new syringe exchange program: Northwest Ohio Syringe Services, or NOSS for short.

People can exchange used needles for new ones to help promote health and safety. They will also have harm reduction education, and medical and behavioral healthcare referral.

This is all to reduce the number of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as protecting the general health of those who inject
drugs.

However, the programs has some Toledo residents concerned.

“Not too happy, little scared, little close to home,” said Jenna Filas a mother who lives right next to one location.

Filas said her eight-year-old son has found needles, baggies with drugs, and pill bottles in their yard. She is worried this program will increase risky activity to her neighborhood.

There will be two locations in Toledo, one being at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church which will be open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Talbot Center will be open Thursdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Although she is concerned for the location of NOSS being so lose to her home, Filas is also hopeful it will get these harmful items off the streets.

Health Department officials say those who take part in syringe access programs are more likely to have a positive outcome than those who do not.

“They're more likely to seek help to get into an addiction and recovery and to be a little bit better and be able to go that extra length and take a sober path,” said Health Service Director, Kelly Burkholder-Allen., RN.

While these programs aim to help, the Health Department is aware of there may be many who find it a controversial solution.

”I understand that we're never going to change everyone mind but we want to make the situation as harm free as possible for everyone involved,” said Burkholder-Allen.

If minds may take a while to change, public health advocates and neighbors hope this program breaks the pattern of addiction.

Each participant will be assigned an ID card on their first visit and will then bring it each time they return. The Health Department will track individual progress to gather data.

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