RICHMOND — Wayne County's syringe exchange program reached a new milestone in the third quarter of this year, taking in more needles than it handed out for the first time.
According to the quarterly report given to the Indiana State Department of Health, the local exchange had 4,249 syringes turned in from July through September, while 3,959 were given out.
The exchange operates on a one-for-one basis (with a typical maximum of 20 per week), but participants aren't required to bring syringes on their first visit and not everyone comes back for a second. That usually leads to more needles going out than coming in.
The report says the surplus this time around came about because "some participants are tapering their usage, and others reported they found syringes they used at a prior time and returned those."
For the year, the program has had 9,538 needles returned while it has distributed 11,272. That's an exchange rate of about 85 percent, slightly better than the state average of 81 percent over the nine counties that have been authorized to run programs.