The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is acutely aware of the marked increase in heroin availability and addiction in our community (“Act now on opioids,” editorial, March 29). The Blade has published a number of articles, editorials, and op-ed columns in this regard.
Although our community is pursuing a more unified approach to this problem, we still see more overdoses and increases in discarded syringes in our streets. Syringe exchange programs (SEPs) are a well-researched approach that reduces these problems.
Syringe exchanges connect injection drug users to professionals who provide overdose education, help users get into treatment, and collect used syringes so they don’t end up on the street. Research has shown that SEPs do not increase drug use, or cause people to start injecting drugs.
A SEP authorization bill has passed the Ohio House with bipartisan support and is before the Ohio Senate. The health department urges state senators to approve the syringe exchange bill as soon as possible.
DR. DAVID GROSSMAN
Commissioner Toledo-Lucas County Health Department North Erie Street