St. Paul starts new syringe exchange program downtown

A new downtown St. Paul syringe exchange may be a sign that some local governments are embracing once controversial measures in dealing with the country's opioid epidemic. 

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the syringe exchange in Ramsey County's main clinic opened earlier this month. People who visit the clinic can get clean syringes, as well as a safe injection kit that contains tourniquets and cookers, which are used to dissolve drugs.

Hilary Zander runs the free and anonymous service. She says they also have HIV and hepatitis C tests, as well as naloxone, a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.

The county received a five-year grant to run the syringe exchange service for $125,000 annually.