The Bexar County Opioid Implementation Task Force will begin drafting plans today to implement the state's first needle exchange program as part of a multifaceted effort to address the ongoing opioid crisis.
The Bexar County Commissioners Court approved $80,000 in September to fund the needle exchange program, which is focused on community health, harm reduction and disease prevention. What are the next steps now that funding has been released?
Texas ranks in the top 5 states with the highest number of opioid-related deaths. Have other states implemented syringe service programs? If so, what can we learn from them?
What are the potential benefits to offering clean needles and syringes? Is there merit to the accusation that offering free syringes promotes drug use?
How will needle exchange work in conjunction with other local efforts to combat opioid abuse in Bexar County? Will additional funding be allocated if the program proves to be effective? What are the measures of success?
Could needle exchange offer a pathway to recovery for participants and reduce financial strain on local governments dealing with effects of the opioid epidemic?
- TJ Mayes, chairman of the Bexar County Opioid Implementation Task Force
- Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager for the City of San Antonio
- Pastor Joe Barber, St. Luke's Baptist Church
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, October 1.