Chattanooga Cares begins needle exchange


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A new syringe trade and education program is hoping to cut down the spread of H-I-V and Hepatitis C.

Chattanooga Cares is starting the Step Tennessee program, which targets injected drug users.

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Chattanooga Cares Rural Health Manager Melanie Connatser says they’re seeing an increase in people with H-I-V and Hepatitis C.

The program provides a safe way to dispose of old needles, in exchange for clean needles and syringes.

It also offers education on treatment, users may not be aware of.

“Some may think that it increases drug use, but it actually is a great opportunity decrease drug use, because it’s a great opportunity for them to get treatment.”

Connatser says research shows that program participants are five times more likely to get into treatment.

The program starts on Monday.