JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A new partnership announced Wednesday by East Tennessee State University will establish a new syringe exchange program where those who inject drugs can receive new, unused needles.
The school's Center of Excellence for Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity will also offer the overdose prevention drug naloxone as part of the new statewide program developed in-part with Cempa Community Care- a southeast Tennessee group whose mission is to educate and prevent the spread of AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.
"Other goals of the program include reducing needle stick injuries to law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel and to encourage individuals who inject drugs to enroll in treatment,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, a professor of medicine at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine and section chief for Infectious Diseases at the Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The needle exchange is universally supported among Tennesseans according to data from the ETSU Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment.
Neighboring Wise County, Virginia became the first locality in that state to be approved for a needle exchange program to assist an area that has been ravaged by opioid abuse and death in the past decade.
A nationwide directory of needle networks can be searched by clicking here.