Needle Exchange Program Opens in Pueblo

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Pueblo’s first needle exchange is set to take place Friday.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports. 

The exchange is geared toward illegal injection drug users in order to help prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Access Point Pueblo is a legal syringe access program and is hosting the exchange. 

Dr. Michael Nerenberg sits on the City-County Board of Health and has helped bring the program to Pueblo. He’s also a retired emergency room physician who worked in the city for over 24 years. Nerenberg says he’s seen drug use, including heroin, escalate over the years.

"I never saw it before, for the first 20 years of my practice," Nerenberg says.  "Maybe if I saw four or five heroin overdoses, that was a lot.  Then in the last couple years that I practiced, it became much more frequent. And now it’s probably, certainly several times a week if not daily.”

Nerenberg says Pueblo’s City-County Health Department along with government officials have been supportive of the program. 

He says he doesn’t know what to expect from the exchange, but would like to see it become a recurring event.

The exchange is set to take place from 5-7 PM at the Mrs. Hill Service Center near East Fourth Street and Glendale.