03/07/2019- You’ve heard the stories or may have even experienced it yourself: the discovery of hypodermic needles left behind in public places by drug users that threaten the safety of residents and law enforcement. A new program being established in Marinette County is looking to minimize that. A representative with the AIDS Resources Center of Wisconsin spoke to the Health and Human Services Board about creating a satellite location of their LifePoint Needle Exchange Program at the local Public Health Office, which supplies IV drug users with clean needles and supplies and also serves as a drop-off location for used sharps. While the idea may initially seem controversial, Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner says, bottom line, it’s about protecting the community.
The Needle Exchange location will also offer free resources like HIV and Hepatitis C tests, as well as vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean says people that take advantage of these syringe services programs are actually five times more likely to seek treatment for their addiction.
All needles and supplies will be provided to the Marinette County LifePoint Needle Exchange location free of charge through the ARCW. The program will likely be up and running within a couple of months.