The city of Taunton, Massachusetts will soon begin a new program in an effort to fight drug use and prevent the spread of infections and disease, one needle at a time.
Beginning next week, Seven Hills Foundation, a non-profit organization, will lead the charge in a mobile unit needle exchange program.
"It's a huge step for the city of Taunton," said Connie Richard-Mimoso, the director of the program. "Six days a week, different times, different locations."
Richard-Mimoso says the mobile unit will be a safe place for drug users to exchange used, dirty needles for new clean ones. Workers will also be providing tests for HIV and Hepatitis C and other medical and support services.
"The goal is really to target those individuals who are actively using so we can get them into care," Richard-Mimoso said.
She met with city leaders Tuesday night to talk about how the program will be implemented.
Taunton Police officer John Munise believes the program will be great for the community.
"It's another tool in the tool box," he said.
In 2016, Taunton Police reported 36 opioid-related fatal overdoses.
"I've been around for an awful long time and I've sadly lost count of the amount of people I've seen die of drug overdoses," Munise said.
Seven Hills Foundation said it has been providing services in Taunton for the past 5 years and this mobile unit will only allow them to reach more people.