Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams has declared a public health emergency for Allen County. The designation, which will run through October 5, 2017, will allow for the establishment of a syringe exchange program in an effort to reduce the spread of hepatitis C.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health says it will open the syringe services program in early November in Fort Wayne. The program will provide new, clean needles and sharps disposal containers, free hepatitis C and HIV testing and referrals to treatment and addiction services.
"Allen County is experiencing an increase in hepatitis C cases, which puts the county at risk for other diseases spread through intravenous drug use," said Adams. "By implementing a syringe exchange in conjunction with testing, referrals to treatment and enrollment in health insurance, Allen County is taking steps to reduce the harm caused by substance abuse and improve the health of its communities."
The Department of Health is launching the SSP in collaboration with Positive Resource Connection and Park Center. The program will be located at 519 Oxford Street in Fort Wayne.