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Lawrence County declares public health emergency

A public health emergency has been declared for Lawrence County by the State Health Commissioner on Friday allowing the county to establish a syringe exchange program. 

Officials say it is part of a broader effort to reduce the spread of hepatitis C.

“As we fight the national opioid epidemic, we’ve seen time and again that rising hepatitis C rates can be a sign that injection drug use is occurring in a community. Syringe exchange is one tool that can help prevent the spread of disease, so long as it’s part of a response that also includes access to testing, treatment and other services critical to improving individuals’ health,” says Jerome Adams, State Health Commissioner. 

According to the commissioner, in order to declare the emergency, there must be epidemic of hepatitis C that is primarily transmitted through IV drug use in the county.

No state funding is used to support the program.

Officials say the public health emergency will run through September 29, 2017.

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