The Syringe Access Exchange Program (SEP) was initiated on Feb. 6, and, since then, Green River District Health Department Public Health Director Clay Horton said the SEP has seen a decent amount of activity from those living in and around the Daviess County area.
“I believe it’s going OK,” Horton said. “Typically, we’re offering services two afternoons a week. We haven’t had any kind of problems or issues so far.”
Horton said numbers came back Wednesday of last week, showing that the local SEP saw a total of 14 visits, including 10 unique clients for the month of February. Four visitors had attended the SEP twice during that time.
While the number of visitors normally starts off slow for beginning SEPs across the state, and then pick up over time, Horton said the local program’s numbers show the SEP is serving its purpose to those who may benefit from the needle exchange system.
“We’ve had some activity — I’d say a fair amount of activity,” Horton said. “I don’t know that it’s slower or busier than I anticipated. We’re still kind of building our capacity, building our competency.”
The local SEP program is one of many that exists across the state of Kentucky. The program provides clean needles to intravenous drug users who exchange their used needles for new ones. The SEP program is operated through the public health sector of the health department as its primary focus is combating the spread of diseases such as AIDS, HIV and hepatitis.
Horton said those in the public health department are still striving to develop and better the SEP by, potentially, elongating its hours of service. For now, the SEP located at 1600 Breckenridge St. operates from 1-4 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday.
“We’re looking at offering services outside of those windows,” Horton said. “We’re going to continue to try and build upon the program.”