Maine Seeks to Expand Syringe Exchange Program to All 16 Counties
Amid a growing health crisis involving used needles, including 51 year-to-date cases of acute hepatitis C, Maine is looking to expand its syringe exchange program.
According to US news, Maine CDC Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, stated that the cases of hepatitis C in Maine is “an unfortunate outcropping of the substance use crisis.” Maine CDC statistics also indicate that Maine is running around three times the national average for acute cases of hep C.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Maine already has needle exchange programs in Waterville, Augusta, Portland, Machias, Belfast, Ellsworth and Bangor. However, the goal of Kenney Miller, Executive Director of the Health Equity Alliance is to have at least one exchange location in each of Maine's sixteen counties.
Even though the number of overdose related deaths in Maine is on an apparent decrease, the number of transmittable diseases due to needle sharing is on the rise. The Mills' administration is set to launch the expansion of the program which will cost around $1.5 million.