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Ashland seeks to start needle drive to combat Hepatitis C

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is planning a needle-exchange program to prevent the further spread of Hepatitis C in the area.

According to Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond, the number of Hepatitis C deaths in the area “shot up dramatically” in 2011 and 2012. He says the leading cause for the spread of the disease has been through dirty needles used by drug users.

Epidemiologist Kristy Bolen said the needle-exchange program can be used as a tool to stymie the spread if Hepatitis C, while also giving the health department an opportunity to educate addicts coming to pick up clean needles.

The health department is still seeking approval for the program from the board of health and local governments.