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Needle exchange program delayed

Pilot will likely begin in late September or early October
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 29, 2017 4:25PM

The launch of a pilot needle exchange program in Clatsop County has been delayed.

Originally scheduled to offer exchanges for drug users in Astoria and Knappa locations last Friday, the program will likely begin in late September or early October. When the six-month program — funded by a $50,000 donation — does start, nurses will be on hand to collect used syringes and pass out clean ones in a one-for-one trade.

The launch was delayed to give nurses more time to study how other counties, mainly Multnomah, conduct exchange programs, Public Health Director Michael McNickle said.

When dates, times and exact locations are finalized, they will be shared through social media and word of mouth among those known to use syringes.

The Public Health Department will consider the viability of a permanent program based on how many needles are collected. Clatsop County would become the ninth in the state to implement such a program.


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