SOMERSET, Kentucky (November 19, 2021) — A coalition of community leaders focused on combatting homelessness and drug addiction in Somerset and Pulaski County met Tuesday for the second time. Several members shared successes in reducing the number of needles in the community and providing resources to those who need shelter or recovery services.
Considering feedback from the first meeting, Lake Cumberland District Health Department representatives have made changes to the needle exchange program, which provides needles to anyone who uses injection drugs utilizing best practices for disease prevention. LCDHD has reduced the number of needles handed out to participants from 50 to a calculated number needed for two weeks and is providing education about proper disposal with every handout. As a result, LCDHD has seen an increase in monthly needle return rates — 100.6 percent in September and 96.4 percent in October.
Pulaski County Attorney’s Office representatives also shared appreciation for access to resources through the coalition that can help people in the judicial system, whether it’s an incarcerated individual being released with nowhere to stay or someone in need of recovery services.
The City of Somerset and Pulaski County Government will continue to bring these leaders together every quarter to share resources and find solutions that keep the community safe while helping those in need. Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said he appreciated these stakeholders for putting in the work to make incremental progress.
“We realize there’s no easy solution, but by sharing resources, working together and acknowledging the problem, we can and will do better,” Keck said.