Jeremy Adler

Gretchen Frazee / IPBS

After months of struggling to secure a location, the Tippecanoe County Health Department plans to inaugurate a needle exchange program in its building this Friday. 

The program comes nearly a year after a public health emergency was issued for the county.

Nathan Forget / flickr.com/photos/nathanf/

Even though the number of hepatitis C cases in Tippecanoe County has doubled since 2013, location concerns keep blocking implementation of a syringe exchange program that could help stem the spread of disease.

That was the message from a Wednesday night meeting in Lafayette on the county’s battle against addiction and its ancillary health issues.

Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Consultant Dr. Joan Duwve  says hepatitis C is much easier to transmit than HIV, which is another concern that follows opioid epidemics.

Steve Burns / WTIU

The lead architect of Tippecanoe County’s proposed needle exchange program says he hopes to work through multiple problems simultaneously in 2017.

County Health Officer Jeremy Adler admits he’ll have to find a way to pay for the program and secure the blessing of Lafayette’s mayor and police chief at the same time.

Gretchen Frazee / IPBS

Tippecanoe County has become Indiana’s ninth with a declared public health emergency – an intermediate step in establishing a needle exchange in the county.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams Thursday approved the request from Tippecanoe County Health Officer Jeremy Adler, based primarily on increased numbers of hepatitis C cases linked to IV drug use.

The city of Lafayette has battled a spike in major crimes in the past several years, and elected officials including Mayor Tony Roswarski  have attributed the additional crime to a corresponding drug use epidemic.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/takomabibelot/2627161575

State health officials Friday were pressed into releasing numbers showing a statewide increase in the number of syphilis cases, after the Tippecanoe County Health Department announced a spike.

Tippecanoe County has seen 12 cases of the sexually transmitted disease this year. That’s a big increase over the last four years – none of which registered even five cases for the whole year.

An interim Health Administrator is taking over at the Tippecanoe County Health Department.

Dr. Jeremy Adler is filling in for Ron Cripe, who is on leave due to illness.

Council members approved a contract to last through the end of the year.

They say it’s possible Cripe will return before then.

Adler is a family medicine physician who has served as the county health officer since March.

Unity Healthcare

A family medicine physician will be Tippecanoe County’s next health officer. Dr. Jeremy Adler was appointed after interviewing with county officials Wednesday morning.

He’s part of the Pickerill, Adler and Reed Family Medicine practice in Lafayette, which is part of the Unity Healthcare system.

Adler says one challenge for Tippecanoe County, and all health departments, is maintaining adequate funding.