West Virginia Health Right announced Wednesday plans to begin distributing retractable needles as part of their harm reduction program.
It comes just weeks before a final Charleston City Council vote to make syringes illegal in the city. The proposal stems from police and firefighter concerns of dirty needles sticking them while responding to emergencies.
So Health Right says they’re responding with a measure to keep the city safe. Health Right began their Harm Reduction in 2011 after seeing patients asking for insulin prescriptions but simply walking out with the needles.
The Harm Reduction program was then developed to require patients receive a full medical examine, HIV and hepatitis screening, and drug counseling before getting clean needles.
Health Right CEO Angie Settle says the retractable needles are being used starting this week. They cost the clinic three times more than traditional syringes.