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Half of Ohio adults say they favor needle exchange programs

Jan 19, 2018

Half of Ohio adults (50 percent) said they favor and about 4 in 10 Ohio adults (42 percent) said they oppose needle exchange programs, according to the most recent Ohio Health Issues Poll.

The survey is sponsored by Interact for Health, an independent, healthfocused  foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. A needle exchange program allows people who inject drugs to exchange used syringes for new, sterile syringes. According to the Institute of Medicine, needle or syringe exchange programs are an effective way to reduce the risk of an outbreak of infectious diseases. Research has shown that such programs can help reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C and do not increase the frequency or initiation of drug use.1

Adults familiar with needle exchanges more likely to favor them 

The survey also found that four in 10 Ohio adults reported being somewhat or very familiar with needle exchange programs being implemented in cities across Ohio. 

Ohio adults who are familiar with needle exchange programs are more likely to favor them. Six in 10 Ohio adults who are very or somewhat familiar with needle exchange programs favor them (61 percent). This compares with 4 in 10 adults (43 percent) who are not very or not at all familiar with needle exchange programs. Younger adults and those who identify as Democrats are also more likely to favor these programs.

Higher earning adults had more familiarity with needle exchange programs. Adults earning more than 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) or $16,394 for a single person (46 percent) were more than twice as likely as those earning 138% FPG or less (21 percent) to be somewhat or very familiar with needle exchange programs.

Interact for Health supports Hamilton County Public Health in new program

“The Exchange” is a new needle exchange program being run by Hamilton County Public Health using funds from the Hamilton County Health Care Levy, Interact for Health and the Hamilton County and Cincinnati health departments.

“Expanding accessibility to the needle exchange program is a leap forward for our community in the battle against addiction,” says Tim Ingram, Health Commissioner, Hamilton County Public Health. “In addition to keeping discarded, used syringes off the streets, it’s often the first connection to health and recovery services for people battling addiction.”

“Data from the OHIP survey is invaluable to understanding how information about programs has spread through Ohio,” says O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President/CEO, Interact for Health. “It’s telling that adults who are more familiar with needle exchange programs are more likely to favor them. This suggests that increased public education could enhance understanding of the benefits of these programs in our communities.”

More information about Ohioans' knowledge and opinions of needle exchange programs, and other topics, is available at
www.interactforhealth.org/ohio-health-issues-poll.

About the Ohio Health Issues Poll

The 2017 Ohio Health Issues Poll is funded by Interact for Health. OHIP was conducted June 18 to July 30, 2017, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 836 adults from throughout Ohio was interviewed by telephone. This included 430 landline telephone interviews and 406 cell phone interviews. In 95 of 100 cases, statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 3.4%. There are other sources of variation inherent in publicopinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Ohio Health Issues Poll, please visit www.interactforhealth.org/ohio-health-issues-poll.

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health builds healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available on our website, www.interactforhealth.org.

1. Institute of Medicine. Preventing HIV infection among injecting drug users in high-risk countries: An assessment of the evidence. (2006). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

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