Needle exchange program preps addicts for treatment

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Syringe Access at Safe Point is aimed to keep clients alive and as healthy as possible until they want to go into treatment.

Equitas Health believes getting people clean needles will get them access to addicts who they say may never have come to them before. Its clinics will give up to 300 syringes per month, but that is not all this program offers.

“We also try to link them with behavioral healthcare,” said Chief Operating Officer Peggy Anderson. “One of the things we do at all of our clinics is we have an alcohol and drug treatment counselor available. So if anyone wants to go through the assessments they can do that that day.”

It also provides things like bandages and ointments for wounds, education for those who use syringes and information on how to properly dispose of the needles once they are finished. These are small steps Columbus Public Health and Equitas Health believe will help the Central Ohio community.

“For us, it’s about disease prevention from a community health standpoint,” said Anderson.

Officials say it may be a few years before they can determine if this program is making a positive impact here in the central Ohio area.

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