I wanted to share a very insightful opinion article written by a 25 year old who is in recovery from heroin addiction. Mr. Wooten advocates for harm reduction strategies where addicts can access clean needles, sterile water, tourniquets, sharps containers, and filters for IV solution all in an effort to reduce infections such as HIV, sepsis, endocarditis, and MRSA. Mr. Wooten said that he, “could not stop injecting but wanted to live.”
I am not aware of any syringe exchanges in Knoxville that are part of the North American Syringe Exchange Network. Tennessee enacted a law (without funding) to allow needle exchanges but there is only 1 in the state affiliated with NASEN and it is in Nashville. I am not aware of the rate of needle exchange programs in Knoxville.
Promoting and funding harm reduction facilities in Knoxville would be another way to fight the opioid epidemic in Tennessee. I believe Governor Haslam needs to add this strategy to his TN Together initiative.