Public health emergency declared for Wayne County, Ind.

Generic Needles (WISH Photo)

WAYNE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A public health emergency has been declared for Wayne County.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, declared a public health emergency Friday.

The emergency allows the county health department to create a syringe exchange program to try and reduce the spread of hepatitis C.

“Every Indiana community should know its risk factors for an outbreak similar to the one that occurred in Scott County, and rising hepatitis C rates are a key indicator of injection drug use that can spread disease,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “By identifying troubling risk factors and developing a comprehensive plan to address it, Wayne County is showing its commitment to protecting the health of its citizens and its communities.”

The steps in the process for local communities that local health officials must do include

  • Declare that an epidemic of hepatitis C or HIV exists
  • Determine that it is primarily transmitted through IV drug use
  • Deem that a syringe exchange program is medically appropriate as part of a comprehensive response

County commissioners must:

  • Hold a public hearing
  • Take official action adopting the declarations of the local health officer (above)
  • Describe other actions taken regarding the epidemic that have proven ineffective
  • Request a public health emergency declaration from the state

No state funding is used to support syringe exchange programs.


The public health emergency will run through June 2, 2017.


The other counties that have been declared public health emergencies include:

  • Madison
  • Monroe
  • Fayette
  • Scott

If you have questions about the program contact Eric Coulter at 765-971-9245 or click here for important health and safety information. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s