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Public health emergency declared in Lawrence County due to hepatitis C

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A public health emergency has been declared in Lawrence County due to the spread of hepatitis C.

As a result, a syringe exchange program will be established. Senate Enrolled Act 461 made syringe exchange programs legal in Indiana if certain requirements are met.

“As we fight the national opioid epidemic, we’ve seen time and again that rising hepatitis C rates can be a sign that injection drug use is occurring in a community,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “Syringe exchange is one tool that can help prevent the spread of disease, so long as it’s part of a response that also includes access to testing, treatment and other services critical to improving individuals’ health.”

Public health emergencies had previously been declared in Clark, Fayette, Madison, Monroe, Scott and Wayne counties.

If you have questions about the program, you can call the Lawrence County Health Department at 812-329-5507.