Preston County needle exchange program continues doing well

KINGWOOD – The needle exchange program in Preston County is going well, according to the county health department.

Health Department Administrator V. J. Davis said at Wednesday’s Preston County Board of Health meeting that the exchange is now being held at Valley Health Clinic.  He said Laura Jones from Milan Puskar Health Right reported19 new people are using the site. A “significant number” are still going to Morgantown to maintain their anonymity, he said.

The needle exchange program, paid for by a grant,  is an effort to reduce the spread of  Hepatitis B, Hep C and other diseases prevalent among drug abusers. The program provides a needle exchange, education on safe injection practices, Naloxone kits (NARCAN) and training, medical care, referral to treatment, and counseling and case management for people who inject drugs

Davis said the sheriff’s department has a box available for any sharps — or needles —   found around the county. It is also used for confiscated needles.  He said in-service training was also held at the sheriff’s department to educate personnel on how to safely dispose of sharps.

Davis said he does not foresee any changes in funding regarding public health in the coming fiscal year. He said he believes current state funding will remain the same as last year.

Board members voted to accept a new travel policy that will allow personnel traveling for health department business $50 per day for meals. Personnel who use their personal cell phones for work will be reimbursed $20 per month toward their cell phone bill.

The After the Prom Event will be held 11 p.m. April 28  until 6 a.m. April 29.  Anyone wishing to donate to the event can do so by contacting the Preston County Health Department at 304-329-0096.