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Council okays needle exchange, passes no-smoking ordinance

SALYERSVILLE – The Salyersville City Council met in special session on Monday, February 26, holding the second reading of the no-smoking ordinance and accepting a resolution to support the Magoffin County Health Department’s implementation of a needle exchange program.

In a roll-call vote, the council unanimously approved the second reading of the no-smoking ordinance, which was based off of Prestonsburg’s ordinance on the matter, including clear definitions, vapor, and a fines section regarding violations. The ordinance will become a law in 30 days and a summary of the ordinance will have to be printed in the newspaper.

Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said the city will be able to qualify for more grants by passing the ordinance.

In his capacity of as the health director, Shepherd also presented the Kentucky Harm Reduction and Syringe Exchange Program (HRSEP) to the council, explaining that the city council and fiscal court had to adopt a resolution giving the Magoffin County Health Department permission to implement the needle exchange program. He said they have already received grant funding for the first year of the program and that in addition to needle exchanges, they will also be able to provide counseling and drug rehabilitation opportunities.

“We’re not promoting drug use, just trying to prevent the spreading of HIV and Hep C,” Shepherd explained.

He noted that studies show that needle exchange programs like the one they’re wanting to implement are proven to prevent the spread of diseases and actually decrease drug use.

Currently, Magoffin is ranked the 25th most likely county to have an HIV outbreak, Shepherd said.

“In nearly all of the arrests anymore there are needles, not pills, and this is just a step of prevention, hopefully preventing my grandson from finding a needle in the yard and poking himself.”

Shepherd explained that many surrounding counties have already implemented the program, highlighting Boyd County, which exchanged 220,000 needles last year, with 100 people taking counseling and 20 taking drug rehabilitation.

The council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the health department’s implementation of the program.

Shepherd also told the council that there is a vacancy on the Joint Housing Authority since John Sharp (Republican) moved out of the city limits. He said he does not have someone to replace that position, yet. He did reappoint Wendell Hoskins (Democrat) to the same board.

Per his recommendation, the council agreed to reappoint Henry Joseph to the Salyersville Water Commission.

Shepherd appointed Paul Howard as PRIDE coordinator for the city.

In his mayor’s report, Shepherd said they have poured the footer for the tornado shelter to be located next to the Salyersville First Baptist Church, and it will be ready in approximately another week to be moved and secured in place.

Compared to last year, he said in the bank report that the city is approximately $20,000 up in revenue from last year at this point.

The next regularly-scheduled Salyersville City Council meeting is tentatively slated for March 19, 2017.

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