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Kentucky Association of Counties


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Graves County highlighted in new NACo report on harm reduction

By Lauren Carr, KACo Opioid Settlement Advisor
Highlighting Graves County, Kentucky, the report showcases The Exchange, the county’s sole syringe service program (SSP), established after community engagement and approval from local government bodies.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has published a vital resource titled “Five Questions for Counties Considering Harm Reduction as an Opioid Abatement Strategy,” which provides a comprehensive overview of various harm reduction initiatives implemented by counties across the United States.

This document serves as a guide for local governments aiming to effectively use opioid abatement settlement funds to mitigate the devastating impact of the opioid crisis.

Highlighting Graves County, Kentucky, it showcases The Exchange, the county’s sole syringe service program (SSP), established after community engagement and approval from local government bodies.

Graves County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy led the initiative, recognizing the county's vulnerability to diseases like hepatitis C and HIV due to injection drug use. The Exchange, supported by various governmental and non-profit entities, offers a range of services, including peer support, referrals, and resources for substance users, fostering a stigma-free environment.

Harm reduction strategies focus on minimizing the adverse health, social and legal consequences associated with drug use.

NACo's resource details a range of evidence-based practices, such as syringe services, naloxone distribution and community outreach programs. These case studies illustrate successful models that can be replicated or adapted to fit the unique needs of different communities.

Each case study within the document outlines the program's implementation process, highlighting the specific strategies employed, the challenges encountered, and the solutions devised to overcome these obstacles. Additionally, the case studies provide insights into funding sources, including how counties have leveraged federal, state and local funds, as well as private and nonprofit partnerships to sustain their initiatives.

By presenting these real-world examples, NACo's resource offers a practical framework for counties to develop and refine their harm reduction strategies. It emphasizes the importance of tailoring interventions to local contexts, ensuring legal compliance, and establishing robust evaluation metrics to measure program effectiveness.

This resource is an invaluable tool for counties seeking to address the opioid epidemic through innovative and effective harm reduction strategies. By learning from the successes and challenges of other communities, counties can implement programs that save lives, improve public health and foster safer, healthier communities.

For more detailed information, access the full document here.

Future trainings

June 27 - Maximizing Impact: Best Practices and Toolkit for Opioid Settlement Funds


Reach out to KACo Opioid Settlement Advisor Lauren Carr at

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