Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

UK Researcher Fights to End Congressional Ban on Needle Exchange Funding

jen havens

LEXINGTON, Ky (9/3/2013)— In July, the University of Kentucky's Jennifer Havens sat on a panel in Washington D.C., addressing the current U.S. congressional ban on federal funding of syringe services programs (SSPs) advocating that releasing the ban will positively affect the rising abuse issue. Havens stated that releasing the ban would create a positive effect on the fight against rising injectable drug abuse levels in Kentucky and throughout the nation.

Havens is an epidemiologist in the UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science. She is a leading researcher in epidemiology of prescription opioid abuse in rural Appalachia, as well as HIV and other infectious complications of drug use, and the comorbidity of substance and mental disorders. She is also currently appointed in the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.
 
As a researcher working in rural Appalachia, Havens sat on a panel July 23 along with two other professionals testifying that syringe services programs are greatly needed and should be made available and well-funded by the federal government. According to Havens, ending the current U.S. Congressional ban on federally funding SSPs would not only reduce the spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C, but also help to link drug users to treatment, improve community safety, and save millions in taxpayer dollars.
 
"Dr. Havens' ground-breaking research underscores the idea that education and prevention of injection drug use, as a relatively recent phenomena in rural Appalachian Kentucky, is critical since most rural drug users have not received education on how to prevent overdose, HCV or other STIs," said Carl Leukefeld, chair of the department of Behavioral Science, UK College of Medicine, and director of the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.
 
Kentucky's Appalachian region is just one of many similar rural and suburban areas that have experienced a sharp increase in injection drug use in recent years. The number of heroin users in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 2007, as has the injection abuse of prescription opioid, resulting in a direct correlation in the rise of overdose incidences and diseases transmitted through syringe sharing.
 
"This is one of the most economically depressed areas of the country, so their priority at a local level is on keeping the lights on in schools and other very basic subsistence level needs," Havens said. "But if the ban were lifted, it would enable them to at least explore the option [of syringe services]."
 
Clean needle exchange serves as a positive way to make contact with opioid drug abusers, maximizing opportunities to admit them for counseling and addiction treatment while minimizing the risk for HIV and other related diseases. It implements a sense of accountability and trust between current drug abusers and those providing safe syringes, which can ultimately result in admitting addicts to treatment centers.
 
There are currently 186 cities, in 34 states, that are funding their own syringe exchanges, proving that many regions have already decided it is the right decision for them to instate such policies and funding. According to Havens' presentation, release of the federal ban on funding for such SSPs would result in upwards of $38 million in estimated HIV treatment cost savings by the prevention of infections, ultimately leading to savings for the American tax payer.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Allison Elliott 

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 28, 2014 2850

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2414

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 25, 2014 2283

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 1943

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 25, 2014 1585

Business Spotlight - McQuady's Automotive

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 28, 2014 2850

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2414

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 25, 2014 2283

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 1943

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 1502

Two Injured in Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by William Roundtree

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 28, 2014 895

Zuberer Takes Over at Quarterback for…

in News by Steve LeMaster
July 28, 2014 822

Dont Miss Out on a Howl of a Good Time

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 28, 2014 609

Instant Admissions Day is Aug. 1, 2014

in News by Bernie Hale
July 28, 2014 336

Prosecutors Mull Over Whether to Charge…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 230

Owensboro Police Department Activity…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 25, 2014 1585

Business Spotlight - McQuady's Automotive

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 1382

Business Spotlight - Blue Moon Car Wash

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 1059

Foot Pursuit Ends with Arrest

in Top Stories by Christopher Rogers
July 25, 2014 1027

Open Mic, Bike Night Offer Good Times in…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 991

Boys of Broad to Launch Video at Cinema 4

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03