Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical, evidence-based strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use (Harm Reduction Coalition, 2020).

Our free Harm Reduction Program offers:


  • syringe exchange
  • safer sex supplies


  • FREE naloxone (Narcan) distribution and training
  • FREE rapid HIV and hepatitis testing
  • treatment referrals for HIV, hepatitis C, and Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
  • information about services for food, housing, and healthcare

Location and hours of operation

  • Hours of operation:
    • 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday
    • 3-6:30 p.m. Wednesday
    • 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday
  • Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, Dr. Rice C. Leach Community Room
  • For more information about the Harm Reduction Program, email harmreduction@lfchd.org or call (859) 899-4230.

What is a syringe exchange?

  • On March 24, 2015, the Kentucky General Assembly gave municipalities authority to institute a syringe exchange program.
  • A public health program for people who inject drugs (PWIDs)
  • Senate Bill 192 was passed to allow local health departments to give new needles to PWIDs in exchange for their used needles, with no criminal penalty for people who use drugs.
  • Proven to reduce the spread of  hepatitis C, HIV and other blood-borne infections
    • Provides new, sterile syringes and clean injection equipment
    • Properly disposes of used syringes

Why is a syringe exchange program important for PWIDs?

  • Safe disposal of used needles
  • Free confidential testing for HIV (optional)
  • Education about the harms associated with drug use and how to minimize them
  • Counseling and treatment

According to the CDC, harm reduction syringe exchange programs are proven to:

  • reduce the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis by 50%
  • reduce the incidence of non-bloodborne infections
  • reduce the amount of improperly disposed of syringes
  • reduce overdose deaths
  • reduce drug use

NOTE: We will not accept needles from patients with diabetes. We realize the need for these patients to dispose of their used needles and have learned from the city that these needles can be put in the regular trash if they are sealed in a heavy plastic or metal container such as a coffee can or similar plastic container. Click here to find out more about the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government Solid Waste guidelines regarding disposal of “other items” including medical waste. We urge patients who need to dispose of needles used for insulin to do so according to acceptable city procedures. You can also learn more by clicking here.

Helpful Resources:

For more information about the needle exchange program, call (859) 899-4230.