Update on the Denver Drug Strategy Plan
HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE
03:12 PM -- Denver Drug Strategy
Karla Maracini, Director of the Denver Office of Drug Strategy, and Dr. Jamie Van Leeuwen introduced themselves and described their collaboration between the Denver Drug Strategy Commission, the Denver police, and the Denver District Attorney's office. A handout of the presentation was provided to the committee (Attachment N). Ms. Maracini described the syringe exchange program and emphasized the public health risk of contaminated needles. She relayed the number of injection drug users in the state and stated that the large percentage of them have Hepatitis C. Ms. Maracini spoke to the cost of medical care for individuals with HIV and Hepatitis C. She stated that needle exchange programs aims to reduce the amount of needles discarded in the city parks. Ms. Maracini said that the program's goal is to get 10 percent of Denver drug users, or about 400 users, to participate in the needle exchange program. Representative Massey asked about the effectiveness of the syringe exchange program. Dr. Leeuwen responded that the commission is preparing to make its recommendations while evaluating various prevention efforts. Representative Kerr asked about abuse of the exchange program. Dr. Leeuwen stated that the coalition is working with Denver Health and the Denver police to evaluate the effectiveness of the needle exchange pilot program.