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Do you support a needle exchange program in Johnson City?

Johnson City Press • May 20, 2018 at 4:10 PM

Last week, health professionals with East Tennessee State University's Center of Excellence for Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity announced the start of a syringe exchange program.

Part of the state's Syringe Trade and Education Program, college officials believe providing a safe way for intravenous drug users to dispose of used needles will help slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, two infections that are on the rise as the opioid epidemic gripping the region intensifies.

The program may even encourage those suffering from addiction to seek treatment, they say.

Others in the community, however, worry that providing a source of needles will enable people to use illicit drugs, and could cause an influx of dangerous drugs in the area.

People caught in the cycle of addiction could congregate near the site of the exchange program, 615 N. State of Franklin Road, which may give rise to crime problems in the surrounding neighborhoods, the detractors claim.

Though many addiction specialists and epidemiologists recommend syringe exchange programs for the good of the public's health, some still believe they cause other ills to society.

So, we want to hear from you. Do you support a needle exchange program in Johnson City?

Send your comments to [email protected] Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

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