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needle exchange

West Park Avenue looks like an idyllic Columbus street: A-tree lined boulevard cuts through the middle, and every house has a porch and a small front yard.

But looking closer, it’s clear the neighborhood has been hit by the opioid crisis. A few houses are boarded up, and orange caps from syringes litter the sidewalk.

A jug of used needles to exchange in Camden, N.J., on Oct. 29, 2015.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

A new report by The Center for Community Solutions shows that programs that get used syringes off the streets in Ohio have more than doubled in the last three years.

In Philadelphia, a battle between local officials and the Trump administration is heating up.

In defiance of threats from the Justice Department, public health advocates in Philadelphia have launched a nonprofit to run a facility to allow people to use illegal drugs under medical supervision. It is the most concrete step yet the city has taken toward eventually opening a so-called supervised injection site.

The non-profit, called Safehouse, was formed after a political heavyweight, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, joined the board.

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Susan Perez walks down Scott Street in Franklinton with a baby on her hip and two toddlers following close behind.

“It's a drug house right now,” she says gesturing at a boarded up house a few doors down from hers.

A top Justice Department official is putting cities considering medically-supervised drug injection facilities on notice: If you open one, prepare for swift and aggressive legal action.

With record numbers of fatal overdoses, several cities are working on plans to launch facilities where people can inject illegal drugs with staff on hand to help them if they overdose. Now, however, the Trump administration is vowing a major crackdown.

State health officials this week applied for federal funding to support needle exchange programs in Ohio.

That would provide a lifeline for the Canton Health Department’s SWAP program, which marked its first anniversary in June.

Director of nursing Diane Thompson says the needle exchange program has exceeded its goals, but its first year funding has dried up.

An analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further links between syringe services programs and preventing HIV. 


On a recent morning in downtown Tippecanoe County Indiana, a standing-room-only crowd showed up for a county commissioners meeting. The issue at hand? Renewing the county’s syringe exchange program.


Syringe exchanges are a controversial concept. Even when they're successful at containing disease, they can be difficult to sell to the public. In Madison County, Indiana, residents' ethical concerns shut down a program, which was put in place to curb rates of hepatitis C.

ZaldyImg / Flickr

The Mahoning Valley has been one of the hardest hit areas in the state by the ongoing opioid crisis. As local officials continue to struggle to find ways to reduce the number of fatal overdoses, one program being tried in other parts of Northeast Ohio may provide some relief.

Canton Prepares To Launch Needle Exchange Program

Jun 19, 2017
ZaldyImg / Flickr

Canton is holding its first needle exchange later this month. The program lets people who use injected drugs swap their used needles for clean ones.

Columbus Needle Exchange Can Reduce Disease

Mar 7, 2016
lauri rantala

Columbus is in the midst of a heroin epidemic. Health officials worry about an increase in infectious diseases.  The city now has a needle exchange program that could help reduce those risks.