ASTORIA, Ore. — A six-month pilot program has begun in Astoria, offering drug users the opportunity to trade used needles for clean ones in a one-for-one exchange.

The Daily Astorian reports ( ) public health officials hosted the first in a series of needle exchanges at an Astoria Park Thursday.

Public Health Director Michael McNickle says they had no takers for the exchange that day and noted it would take time to develop trust with illegal drug users.

He says officials have been working to get the word out about the program, making sure that people know they won’t be arrested.

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners approved the program in August. The outreach is funded through a $50,000 donation from the Friends of Columbia Community Health.

The health department will host exchanges each Thursday in locations throughout the County.

Information from: The Daily Astorian,

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