CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A nonprofit has launched a Tennessee county’s first needle exchange program, taking around 100 dirty needles off the streets in a few weeks.

Cory Howard with Chattanooga CARES tells The Chattanooga Times Free Press that people in the programs like the one his nonprofit operates in Hamilton County are five times more likely to get into treatment. He says needle exchanges also result in reductions in crime rates.

The program also allows participants access to simple medical supplies and testing for HIV and Hepatitis C, which can be transmitted via contaminated needles.

The program is funded by the Tennessee Department of Health and a two-year grant from AIDS United.

Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy praised the program, saying it reduces the risk of injury and disease for officers and citizens.

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press,

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