Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Wackerbarth

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Ingram

Committee Member

Dr. Hefei Wen


Problem: There are currently 52 operating syringe exchange programs in Kentucky; a state that has 25% of the highly vulnerable counties for an HIV outbreak. The implementation process of syringe exchange programs can limit the potential for growth. The aims of this study were to identify key barriers and successes to the implementation process of syringe exchange programs in Kentucky. This was assessed by comparing various social and political factors that come into play in local communities.

Methods: The study was conducted using an exploratory case study approach. The researcher conducted interviews with three key informants at the Louisville Metro Public Health Department, the Franklin County Public Health Department, and the Kentucky River District Public Health Department. The implementation processes were compared to the Guidelines for Local Health Departments Implementing Needle Exchange Programs in Kentucky.

Furthermore, data collected by the SEPs were quantitatively analyzed for comparison.

Results: Information obtained through interviews was assessed based on four categories: assessing the need of the community/engagement/outreach, the approval process and obtaining funding, key barriers and modifications, successes and community impact. This allowed for comparisons and differences to be made between each of the health departments and for an overall conclusion about the implementation process to be proposed.

Discussion: Syringe exchange programs have the ability to reduce harm among injection drug users in Kentucky. The Louisville Metro, Franklin County, and Kentucky River District Health Departments have successfully implemented SEPs, but there are many public health departments located in highly vulnerable counties that have not successfully overcome the barriers to implementation. Syringe exchange programs and the implementation of these programs aim to

provide public health services to the local communities ,which aligns with the ten essential public health services.

Included in

Public Health Commons