PACKED COURTHOUSE FOR
HARM REDUCTION MEETING
- Written by GINA WOODS
Crowd is half and half on issue, vote will be held
LOUISA, Ky. — A public meeting was held in the Lawrence Co. Courthouse on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 to discuss the proposed introduction of a Harm Reduction Program in Lawrence Co.
A packed courthouse was present to hear the suggestions.
The speakers were Debbie Miller, Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director, Dr. Tom Frazier, Three Rivers Medical Center, Matt Brown and Tim Robinson of Addiction Recovery Care, members of the community, those in favor of and those opposed.
Most of the political leaders were present including Louisa Mayor Harold Slone and members of the City Council, Judge Executive John Osborne and magistrates, members of the Lawrence Co. School Board. Several concerned citizens were also present.
What is a Harm Reduction Program?
AN INTERVENTION THAT WORKS TO CONTROL THE SPREAD OF HIV AND HEP C.
The Ky. General Assembly passed KY Senate Bill 192 which provides for the establishment of Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Programs in Ky. that will be run by local health departments. The goals are to reduce transmission of diseases and infections spread by injection drug use, reduce the amount of contaminated syringes in the community and act as an access point for individuals to connect with treatment options.
Ms. Miller of the Lawrence Health Dept. released this statement today:
“…Thank you to everyone who attended last night’s Community Forum. Thanks to our presenters – Dr. Tom Frazier, Tim Robinson, Matt Brown, and Maria Hardy; our city and county officials; Mayor Slone and Judge Osborne; and our local Board of Health. Thanks to My Town TV for filming the event, Rent-2-Own for technology support; Thanks to Judge Osborne and his team for allowing us to meet at the Court House. Thanks to Jessie Wellman for moderating this event and to the Lawrence County Health Department team. I especially thank each and every concerned citizen who asked a question, provided their view or bravely shared their story.
We may not all see eye to eye on every issue, but it was abundantly clear that we all want the best for this community. There is no easy answer to the drug epidemic and no one person or organization can conquer it alone. Improving our community will take a lot of hard work. When we all work together, great things will happen and lives will be changed. The two words that keep coming back to me from last night are HOPE and LOVE. Let’s put aside our fear, spread the love and bring hope to our community…”
What does a syringe exchange program do? It is an evidenced based program to prevent and reduce the spread of HIV and Hep C, provides new, sterile syringes, provides for sharp containers for dirty needles and has proven to be effective.
“It also saves $7.00 for every dollar spent, said Dr. Frazier, a well respected gastroenterologist at Three Rivers Medical Center who also teaches classes at U of L. “This program does not increase drug use and makes our neighborhoods safer for everyone. A person who has never injected drugs will not begin to do so because a clean needle is available.”
The courthouse was full and appeared to be evenly divided on the issue. Some think the program will attract more drugs and addicts to the city while others say it will reduce the number of HIV and Hep C cases.
Heath Preston, Lawrence County BOE chairman and concerned citizen, stated, “I believe the experts and recovering addicts did a wonderful job against this program, not meaning to, but the fact remains that in the Boyd Co. program all needles do not come back, 60% in their case.”
Both the city and the county will hold a vote later on regarding the issue. Learn more at www.kyhrc.org
Lawrence County Board of Health Adopts Resolution for Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program to Prevent Spread of Hepatitis C Virus
December 9, 2016
The Lawrence County Health Department is planning a Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Program to prevent the further spread of Hepatitis C in the county. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kentucky has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the nation at 4.0 per every 100,000 people, nearly seven times the national average. Hepatitis C is primarily spread through the sharing of needles and equipment for injection drug use. Health Department Director Debbie Miller said that this became a concern for the health department because as a public health agency the health department is required to detect, prevent and control communicable diseases.
The objectives of the program are to reduce transmission of infections spread by injection drug use by providing new, sterile needles in exchange for contaminated needles; to reduce the amount of contaminated needles improperly discarded in the community by providing sharps containers for proper disposal; and to act as an access point for individuals to obtain connections for treatment for substance abuse, health care, counseling and other services. Lawrence County Health Department Nursing Supervisor Shirley DeLong said, “A harm reduction program is a tool used to prevent the spread of disease that also provides an opportunity to educate participants and link them with other services such as testing, treatment and recovery.”
Lawrence County, along with 54 other Kentucky counties, was recently identified by the CDC as one of 220 U.S. counties vulnerable to the rapid spread of Hepatitis C and HIV among injecting drug users based on factors such as pharmacy sales of prescription painkillers, overdose deaths and rates of unemployment. “This was a call to action for the health department. Our ultimate goal is to prevent drug use and help people get into treatment, but we aren’t there yet. In the meantime, we must try to keep Lawrence County residents as safe as possible,” Miller said.
The Lawrence County Board of Health has adopted a resolution to develop and implement the program. The health department is still seeking approval from the Louisa City Council and the Lawrence County Fiscal Court in accordance with KRS 218A.500. There are currently 14 Harm Reduction Syringe Exchange Programs operating in Kentucky with an additional nine approved to open at a future date.
For more information on Hepatitis C Virus, substance abuse and harm reduction, visit:
Gov. Matt Bevin, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton Honor State’s Volunteers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2016) – Gov. Matt Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton tomorrow will present the 21st annual Governor’s Service Awards to 21 groups and individuals from across Kentucky for their volunteer and service contributions.
Lawrence County Health dept. director debbie Miller and employee Ron Enders received awards at the statewide event.
The awards are coordinated by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
2016 Governor’s Service Award Recipients
John DuPlessis, Lifetime Achievement Award, Elizabethtown. Nominated by Rep. Tim Moore
Tina Crase, Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous), Verona. Nominated by Katelyn Crase
Michael J. Buckman, Volunteer Service Award, Prospect. Nominated by Kate Brackett
Shelley Elswick, Volunteer Service Award,Lexington. Nominated by Amanda Fallin
Dr. Mike Conver, Senior Volunteer Service Award, Cadiz. Nominated by Brenda Southwick
John and Emilie Ward, Senior Volunteer Service Award, Lebanon Junction. Nominated by Donna English
Tony Hendrichs, Veteran Volunteer Service Award, Lexington. Nominated by Tim Turner
Anthony “Nick” Carpenter, Youth Volunteer Service Award, Berea. Nominated by Virginia Bland
Lydia Claire O’Nan, Youth Volunteer Service Award, Ashland. Nominated by Bernard O’Nan
AmeriCorps REACH Corps, National Service Program Award, Louisville. Nominated by Jacob Eads
Anthony Criswell, National Service Alumni Award, Morehead. Nominated by Marilyn Smith
Leah Cann and Lori Shea Fuson, National Service AmeriCorps Member Award, Crittenden/Williamsburg. Nominated by Summer Gortney and Megan Morris.
Mary “Jessie” Hettinger, National Service Senior Corps Member Award, Owensboro. Nominated by Vickie Poteat
Big Rivers Electric Corporation, Business Service Award, Henderson. Nominated by Megan Mortis
Independence Bank, Business Service Award, Owensboro. Nominated by Mary R. Steely
Partners for Education at Berea College, Nonprofit Service Award, Berea. Nominated by Sandi Curd
Partnership Housing, Inc., Nonprofit Service Award, Booneville, Nominated by Cassie Hudson
Generation Joshua Club, Paducah Chapter, Group Service Award, Paducah. Nominated by Eve Silverstein
Maria Hardy, , Kristy Bolen, Cassie Mace, Henry Sturgill, Ron Enders and Brian Elswick (Health Departments in Boyd, Greenup and Lawrence Counties), Group Service Award, Little Sandy District. Nominated by John M. Hunt. A Place To Sleep, Faith-Based Service Award, Shelbyville. Nominated by Jackie Duvall
Farmington Church of Christ, Faith-based Group Service Award, Farmington. Nominated by Jennifer Morris
OCTOBER 9, 2015
Preparedness has a New Champion
Shirley DeLong, RN is the River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps winner of the Be Ready Preparedness Challenge for 2015.
The challenge was part of our September preparedness month activities. Each MRC volunteer was asked to speak to, and collect signatures from, non MRC members who would pledge to make a home readiness kit.
Shirley obtained 60 signatures and brought in five potential new members to our MRC community. Shirley DeLong has been an active member of our unit since its founding in 2005. In addition to her work as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department, Shirley DeLong has volunteered her time as medical mission’s worker in Latin America and with numerous other local charities. Her energy is electric and her attitude towards helping others stellar.
When asked once why she did so much for others, her reply was straight to the point, “We should think about helping others as naturally as we do eating and sleeping. It’s what keeps us human.”
Shirley’s humanity certainly shines bright and we are proud to have her as a member of our River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps family and as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department.
OCTOBER 5, 2015
Smile Savers Dental Program Begins Second Year in Lawrence and Martin Counties
Lawrence County Health Department begins their second school year of the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Program.
The program is funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department for Public Health that aims to increase access and improve oral health standards in communities across the state.
Smile Savers provides preventive dental hygiene services for students preschool through 12 grade in both Lawrence and Martin County schools. The funding allows for a dental hygienist and assistant, portable dental equipment, dental supplies, a transport vehicle and transportation costs.
The Smile Savers Team includes Rhonda Collins, Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist and Jessie Wellman, Certified Dental Assistant.
Rhonda graduated in 1998 from Prestonsburg Community College and has worked as a Dental Hygienist for 16 years. Jessie is originally from Lexington and has lived in Louisa for 10 years. Jessie graduated from The Lexington Academy of Dental Assisting in 2005.
“Jessie and I are thrilled to help protect the smiles of so many children and assist in the prevention of tooth decay, one of the most common preventable diseases in children,” said Ms. Collins.
Last school year, the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Team got started in March 2015 and in just two months provided preventive dental services for 240 children.
“We are so pleased to provide preventive dental services for our students and this year our two devoted professionals will see even more children in both Martin and Lawrence Counties,” said Debbie Miller, Lawrence County Health Department Director. “Our Health Department also participants in the Kentucky Smiling School Oral Health Project which provides additional resources for fluoride varnishing for students first through fifth grade,” said Ms. Miller.
The Smile Savers Program provides oral assessments, cleanings, fluoride varnish, and sealant placement on permanent molars. The program also provides counseling on nutrition, tobacco prevention and cessation and trauma prevention as well as education for personal oral health care.
Both of these preventive dental services, Smiling Schools and Smile Savers, are provided at no cost to parents.
Fluoride varnish is a protective coating applied on the teeth to help prevent new cavities and can help stop cavities that have already started. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surface of the back teeth and also reduce childhood tooth decay.
Good oral health is vital for success in school and all aspects of life. The goal of the Smile Savers Program is for each and every student to be comfortable and excited to visit a dentist on a regular basis for lifelong dental care. In addition to the Lawrence and Martin County School Systems, the team will be working in conjunction with local and area dentists to achieve this goal.
Rhonda and Jessie are very excited to work with the students, schools and the community… Saving Smiles, One Child at a Time!
Smiling Schools tooth-varnish program expands to 10 more counties; now in 40
No doubt Pat Machir and Carolyn McGinn of the Lawrence County Health Dept. are “smiling” these days as a much needed dental health program in Kentucky is growing and gaining momentum.
Kentucky’s Smiling Schools program is expanding to 10 more counties and will now provide its free preventive tooth varnishing treatments to children in 40 elementary schools, most in Appalachia, according to a state press release.
Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, along with others, made the announcement at the Clark County Health Department on Sept. 22.
“Good dental health is a key component of good overall health,” the governor said, “Kentucky’s children deserve the best start in life, and the latest round of our Smiling Schools program will help even more children live up to their full potential in the classroom and beyond.”
Lawrence County dentists are advising and assisting in the program called “Smile Savers” featuring Mojo the mascot, which was one of the first programs of its kind in Kentucky. School visits and parental participation have been a big part of the local program.
Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits; 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay; and 47th in the percentage of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth, according to the release.
Funding for the Smiling Schools program, which will now reach almost 18,000 students with the expansion, is provided by an $800,000 stream of funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Kentucky Oral Health Program.
The protective varnish treatments provided by the program are administered at the participating elementary schools by local health department nurses. Oral health educational materials are also provided to the parents of the children receiving treatment.
The 10 new counties joining the program are Clark, Edmonson, Green, Greenup, Johnson, Letcher, Lewis, Nicholas, Pike and Pulaski.
The counties already participating in the program are: Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Hart, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Leslie, Lincoln, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Montgomery, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Powell, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Whitley and Wolfe.
Health Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said that the Smiling Schools program had reduced tooth decay and fillings by 20 percent, according to a study by the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
Free colon cancer screening through KY Colon Cancer Screening Program
The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program (KCCSP) led by the Kentucky Department for Public Health and developed as a public/private partnership with the Kentucky Cancer Foundation will again be funding colon cancer screening in 14 health departments covering 47 counties throughout Kentucky during 2015-16.
The Lawrence County Health Department has received the grant for the FIVCO District.
They will offer a free take-home FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) kit to all individuals who meet screening guidelines. The FIT is a test to check for tiny amounts of blood which could detect a cancer or pre-cancer. KCCSP trained patient navigators will guide patients through the process of being screened for colon cancer, either with a FIT take-home kit, or a colonoscopy if a patient is at high risk or their FIT is positive.
Men and women who are age 50+ (age 45+ for African Americans) or at high risk for colon cancer should be screened. To be eligible for this colon cancer screening one must be uninsured, low income, legal residents of Kentucky.
Preventive screenings are now covered through the Affordable Care Act with no out of pocket charges for those who are insured. KCCSP navigators will also work with patients who inquire about colon cancer screening to link them to kynect, the Kentucky-run health benefit exchange, so that they can receive more information about their eligibility for private insurance or Medicaid.
New this year is a statewide campaign by the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP) called “Get the FIT Facts” which will provide information about the FIT option and colon cancer screening resources to health care providers throughout Kentucky. KCP is part of the cancer control programs at the University of Kentucky/Markey Cancer Center and the University of Louisville/James Graham Brown Cancer Center. They will be working with health departments to assist in educating the public about the importance of screening and the availability of the health departments’ colon cancer screening resources.
Thus far, more than 1,500 Kentuckians have been screened through the KCCSP, with 14 cancers detected. Polyps have been detected in 179 patients and removed before they turned into cancer.
The KCCSP has not only increased screening, but it’s affected the lives of many Kentuckians. Visit http://coloncancerpreventionproject.org/category/stories/ to learn more about the stories of Kentuckians impacted through this life-saving program.
For more information about the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program call (1-800-633-8100) or call the regional office of the Kentucky Cancer Program at 606-793-7006.