Family Health to roll out XChange program

GREENVILLE – Representatives of Family Health, the Darke County Health Department and the Darke County Coroner’s office met with county, city and village officials Thursday to introduce a new program aimed at combating drug abuse.

According to Jean Young, executive director, Family Health has received a $100,000 grant from Cardinal Health in Columbus to fund aspects of the program.

Family Health submitted the following press release concerning the program on Thursday:

Family Health Services of Darke County, a Federally Qualified Health Center operating since 1972, will launch a new initiative designed to address some of the community health concerns created by the opioid epidemic.

The program, called XChange, helps men and women who are struggling with drug misuse by offering clean needles, education and referrals to addiction treatment services. “People with addiction often inject drugs, and often share needles,” said Dr. Hannah Hatic, DO, Family Health Services’ Clinical Director of Medication, Assisted Treatment Programs and a specialist in internal medicine and addiction medicine.  “Sharing needles puts people at risk of contracting Hepatitis and HIV.”

According to the National Harm Reduction Coalition, needle exchange programs “are one of the most effective methods of disease prevention among injection drug users.

“Over a decade’s worth of scientific research concludes that syringe exchange programs play an essential role in reducing the spread of blood-borne illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.”

XChange will provide a one-to-one exchange, Hatic said. “Anyone who comes in with a dirty needle will get a new needle, and will have access to basic medical supplies, education about misuse and addiction and referrals to addiction treatment services.”

XChange has widespread support throughout the community, Hatic said, including from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County, the Darke County Health Department and the Darke County Coroner’s Office.

“We support XChange because it will connect the folks who are struggling with addiction to healthcare providers who can work with them and help them get treatment,” said Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. “The program also will help reduce needle stick injuries to law enforcement officers and first responders.”

XChange opens Oct. 12, and will run every month on the second and fourth Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Family Health Dental Clinic, 5735 Meeker Road, Greenville.

For general information about the program, email: xchange@familyhealthservices.org

The public is invited to attend an informational meeting concerning the XChange program from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Family Health in Greenville. Information concerning how the program works for individuals dealing with addiction will be available. For more information, call Family Health at 548-3806.

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