Cowlitz County Syringe Exchange Plan submitted to the Board of County Commissioners.
If you'd like to read the plan submitted by the Cowlitz County Health & Human Services Departments, click here. This plan will be evaluated and voted on by the BoCC soon at a public hearing, probably on one of the customary Tuesday morning weekly meeting.
Barring some new revelation, I will be voting to terminate the Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) by 25 September 2017. While this is not intended to be a full discussion, the following may be of some interest to some.
Reasons for termination are many:
Some about the plan as submitted:
The county cannot agree to a plan that states “common safety practice” will be discontinued.
The plan states that the SEP will require more resources to function under the new plan. The County does not have the money for this purpose.
The plan claims that it cannot “directly report the number of clients that enter into a program for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services.” Yet, during the recent night hearing, HHS staff announced that one person in 6 months had entered a program. It is unreasonable not to be able to measure the progress of one of the points used to sell the program.
Some of the many issues already presented in prior discussions:
The mixed message given by the program about acceptability of drug usage in this form.
The cost of the program (~$100k).
Many other counties do not have such a program and there are no reported cataclysmic (or otherwise) consequences.
The significant danger to the public from discarded needles
The poorly managed program
The lack of citizen support
One point not mentioned in prior discussions is that the SEP began when syringes were not available over the counter without prescription. That is no longer that case … so why are the taxpayers required to pay for an SEP?