As opioid crisis wears on, Buncombe County prepares to launch syringe clinic

The Needle Exchange Program of Asheville’s Michael Harney has been handing out free needles and other supplies to those who use injection drugs since 1994. It’s a simple way, he says, to prevent the spread of disease and protect the health of a vulnerable group of people.

Now that Buncombe County has announced it will begin providing a similar service at its 40 Coxe Ave. Department of Health and Human Services facility as soon as July, Harney has a simple message: “Bring it on.”

At an April 23 meeting with community groups dedicated to reducing the harms associated with drug use, Harney says the county stressed that “they were not going to be in competition with NEPA or the Steady Collective.”