ASTORIA — The Clatsop County Public Health Department will be holding its first syringe exchange event on Thursday, Oct. 5.
The exchange will take place at two locations:
• Astoria, at the corner of 16th Street and Marine Drive – across from Custard King – from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.;
• Knappa, at the Knappa Fire District – 43114 Hillcrest Loop – from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Public Health has launched the exchange program in an effort to combat growing rates of infectious disease, including HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis, among intravenous drug users. The department received a $50,000 donation from the Friends of Columbia Community Health in support of the program, and the county board of commissioners voted to endorse the project in August.
Public Health will conduct the syringe exchange in a green Dodge van. Two (2) Clatsop County staff members and a Jordan’s Hope volunteer will be in the vehicle to assist in the exchange.
The rules of the syringe exchange event are:
• Participants will be provided syringes on a one-for one basis (i.e., one clean syringe for one used syringe) during this event. In future events, more syringes may be provided to a participant on a case-by-case basis;
• Under no circumstances will Clatsop County staff continue to conduct the syringe exchange if signs of drug use, drug paraphernalia (besides used syringes) or the selling of drugs is noticed. If Clatsop County Public Health staff notices any of these activities occurring, the exchange will shut down immediately and not return to that location. Participants in the exchange are expected to self-govern and not jeopardize this important public health service;
• Participants must bring all used syringes to the exchange in containers that prevent Clatsop County staff from being accidentally stuck with a needle. Participants will be given a sharps container to properly dispose of all the syringes that are brought to future exchange events. Participants of the exchange are expected to dispose of their syringes in proper sharps containers at all times;
• Public Health expects exchange participants to pick up syringes they see in the community and dispose of them properly in their sharps containers.
For more information, please contact Clatsop County Public Health at (503) 325-8500.