RICHMOND — Wayne County's syringe exchange will be around for at least another two years after county commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the program to June 2020.
The county's exchange began in August 2016 in an attempt to deal with elevated numbers of hepatitis C and HIV patients. The diseases can be spread through the sharing of needles used to inject illicit drugs, such as heroin or cocaine.
Initially, the program only operated for two hours one Thursday a month in the Centerstone facility at 200 N. 13th St. in Richmond. In July, it was expanded to every Thursday.
The number of people making use of the program has steadily increased over its lifetime. Last week, 18 patients visited the exchange, the largest number for a single week, according to Commissioner Mary Anne Butters.
"Those individuals are not just engaged in harm reduction by having clean syringes, but they are also more and more seeking treatment," she said.