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The HUB in southeast Kentucky provides connections for those in need

Stu Johnson

The HUB has about two years of history in downtown Beattyville. Its name signifies the purpose of the facility. Harm Reduction Program Coordinator and HUB Director JoAnn Fraley said it’s designed for anyone in need. Frahley said the goal is to provide counseling and connections with service providers.

“We want everybody to be, have homes and sober and self-sufficient. But, if we don’t help people out of the trenches and address the barriers, that are needed, then we’re not gonna be able to create that change that we’re all after,” said Fraley.

Fraley estimated the HUB serves around 5000 people overall in a years’ time with many repeat visitors. She said about 80 percent are on the street or couch surfing.

Meeting the day to day needs of those battling substance use issues comes in many forms. And sometimes, it’s about preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Kentucky River District Health Director Scott Lockard said there has been a great deal of participation in the needle exchange program in southeast Kentucky.

“We’ve exchanged over three and a half million syringes since inception in 2017 when we started that program, so we’ve just seen huge success there in preventing the spread of communicable disease by making sure that clean syringes are available for people who inject drugs,” said Lockard.

Lockard said participants are advised to tell police if they are stopped about their involvement in syringe exchange programs. He noted that helps provide protection against an accidental stick and avoids a paraphernalia charge. Lockard added cases of hepatitis and HIV would certainly be much larger without the needle exchange program.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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