Vice President Phil Kitchel called the meeting to order at 7:37am. Andrew May led the flag salute. The thought of the day was a quote from Pope Francis who said “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another.”
Jon distributed invoices to those present who had not paid their dues. He welcomed guests to join the Association.
Andrew announced that Marc Abshire, Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce, has been named Executive Director of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce. There will be a meet and greet on Thursday, the 14th, from 5 – 7pm at the Red Lion Inn.
Governmental Affairs: Harry Bell handed out a list of committee members and assignments. The Committee will meet with the full membership on the 26th.
Port Angeles Downtown Association (PADA): Edna Petersen reported that the group did not get the tax dollars needed to maintain the Main Street Project which requires a Full Time Director.
Next meeting will feature: Nathan West from the City of Port Angeles. Nathan will giving his annual report for 2015 and comment on projects for the coming year.
Andrew, in welcoming everyone to another beautiful day in Port Angeles, said more and more people are needing drugs to get to that beautiful day. He introduced Christina Hurst, Public Health Manager at Clallam Health and Services who gave us history of the drug needle exchange program. She said the two main objectives of the Program are to provide a place to exchange old used needles for new ones, and to instruct users on the proper way to use and then dispose of needles.
Clallam County gave out 221,000 needles in 2015, down from 275,000 in 2014. Even though fewer people are using drugs, there are also more first time users. People turned in 227,000 in 2015. Users must bring back all used needles before they can get clean ones. In her words, “Take ten bring back ten”. She shows how to correctly pick up used needles and how to put them in containers for disposal. Needle tips can hold blood after use so can still transmit HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C to those who pick them up.
Christina said the State of Oregon started the first legal needle exchange in 1986, with Washington State following in 1988. Clallam County’s program began in 1990 and since then has seen an 80% reduction in blood borne infections. The County spends $70,000 to bring the program but since one HIV case can cost over $250,000 to be treated, any funding they can get helps. Once defunded, the County now finds $25,000 and in-kind donations help with other expenses. Christina explained the use of Naloxone which is a non-addictive drug that once given can take effect in 2 – 5 minutes. It wears off in 30 – 90 minutes, but that can be enough time to get medical attention.
Q & A Period
How much do needles cost? Local costs?
Dirty needles have been found on the Discovery Trail. Animals have stepped on the needles. Clean needles and Naloxone only encourage drug use.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30am.