Orange County residents can now exchange used needles for clean ones

Program aims to curb overdoses

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A new partnership between Orange County government and Hope & Help is allowing residents who struggle with addiction the chance to exchange their used needles for clean ones with the ultimate goal being to reduce overdoses and the spread of HIV.

The IDEA Orlando Syringe Service Program launched on June 1 after the board of commissioners approved an ordinance in February 2020 to allow a needle exchange program within the county limits.

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“What we are offering with the needle exchange is part of a larger harm reduction program grounded in justice and human rights,” Hope & Help prevention director Adam Troy said in a news release. “Harm reduction is about creating positive change and working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support. We treat people who use drugs along with their families with compassion and dignity, to save lives and stop the spread of disease.”

The program is free and participants can remain anonymous. They’ll also receive safe injection supplies, free Narcan -- a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose -- wound care supplies, safer injection site training and referrals for treatment centers when they decide they’re ready to overcome their addiction.

Participants will need to enroll during their initial visit, which will take about 30 minutes, and they’ll also be encouraged to undergo testing for HIV and hepatitis C every three months.

Services will be provided at Hope & Help’s main office at 4122 Metric Drive in Winter Park.

For more information about the program, click here.