In response to the articles published about the Syringe Exchange Program in Hudson Falls (Proposed needle exchange, Jan. 31 and Sheriff, Feb. 1), I am lending my complete support to a Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) in Hudson Falls.
The public health and safety benefits of having a safe environment to exchange used syringes are indisputable. I understand the gut reaction of residents and officials to oppose this vital service. It is easy to believe that people who use drugs are not residing in your town, attending your schools or churches, or living under your roof. However, that is not the case.
In 2016, Washington County had at least one resident die of a heroin overdose; 36 people sent to the emergency room because of heroin and opioid overdoses; 11 people hospitalized because of opioid overdoses; 19 people were given Naloxone to prevent a death from heroin or opioid overdose; and 265 residents sought treatment for heroin and opioid dependence by enrolling in counseling. These numbers are reported by the New York State Department of Health.
By opening a SEP, the Alliance will continue to serve its community by giving people the opportunity to live a better and healthier life. One study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse, found that people who utilize SEPs are five times as likely to enroll in drug abuse counseling than people who never use a SEP. The Centers for Disease Control report that using clean syringes is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of HIV. Hepatitis C transmission is drastically reduced when individuals are not sharing needles.
If the people of Hudson Falls truly want to live in a safe community, and in a place that values the lives of every person, opening a Syringe Exchange Program should be an easy decision.
Cait Palmer, Glens Falls
Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, the letter-writer acknowledged employment at the Alliance for Positive Health, but they wanted to make it clear they were submitting it as a community member and they do not in any way speak for the organization.