BECKLEY, W.Va. — A health department in West Virginia will begin offering comprehensive harm reduction services with goals that include decreasing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The Register-Herald reports the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department program will offer syringe exchanges, STD education and other services.

Critics say the program encourages drug use, but department Acting Administrator Candance Hurd says the program isn’t meant to help people use drugs, it’s meant to decrease the spread of diseases.

The department voted to offer a comprehensive harm reduction program last year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flagged 28 of the state’s 55 counties as in danger of a HIV and hepatitis C outbreak.

As of now, the department is working to get the program certified with the state’s Bureau of Public Health.


Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com