Chillicothe Gazette (02.05.2014)
The Chillicothe Gazette reported that Ohio’s Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health (ADAMH) board soon would post a pole-mounted, metal collection box specifically for discarded needles. Executive Director Juni Frey stated that ADAMH had not yet selected a location for the box, purchased in response to residents’ complaints about finding discarded needles in the organization’s five-county service area. Chillicothe Police Public Information Officer Bud Lytle confirmed that police received an average of two complaints each week and attributed the increase in discarded needles to rising heroin use after a crackdown on prescription pain pills.
Ross County Health Commissioner Dr. Timothy Angel confirmed the need to provide a means for drug users to dispose of syringes and needles safely. Angel reported no new HIV cases in the county since 2008, but noted increasing hepatitis C incidence and a rise in confirmed hepatitis B from 10 cases in 2006 to 41 in 2013. Angel noted that removing discarded needles from the community would help prevent hepatitis transmission and protect citizens from accidental exposure through needle sticks. Lytle advised citizens not to touch any discarded needle and to call the police or sheriff’s office for safe disposal.
Although needle exchange programs were not part of the effort to remove dirty needles from the community, Angel did not rule out establishment of a service. The Ross County Health Commission currently was starting two other drug programs. “Project DAWN” provided education and a nasal treatment, Naloxone, that could block the uptake of opioids and prevent fatal overdose. The health district also was initiating a drug treatment program based on use of naltrexone (Vivitrol), a prescription-only injection that could prevent a drug user from relapsing to opioid use after detoxification.