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Bexar County To Implement Texas' First Needle Exchange Program

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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 stateswith 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?


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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, October 1.


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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.