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State Approves Seventh Syringe Exchange In Lawrence County

Lawrence County is the seventh in the state to get state approval for a syringe exchange program.

The Lawrence County Health Department declared a public health emergency in February, in response to increasing rates of Hepatitis C, linked to intravenous drug use.

Public Health Nurse Sherry Lawson says county commissioners were initially opposed to the idea of a syringe exchange, but eventually reached unanimous approval for the proposal in July.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have opposition out there because I know that we do," Lawson says. "But at least we have the commissioners, we have the mayor in Bedford who is very supportive, and the mayor in Mitchell who is also very supportive of the program.”

Health officials hope to have the program operating by Nov. 1.

The Lawrence County proposal closely mirrors the already-operating syringe exchange in Monroe County.

The county health department will work with the Indiana Recovery Alliance to fund and operate the program, which will consist of a mobile unit.

State law prohibits using state funding for a needle exchange.

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