Huntington – Amidst the ongoing debate over Cabell County’s Harm Reduction (Needle Exchange) program, community activist Jan Hite King emerges as a vocal critic, challenging the perceived secrecy surrounding the program. Hite King, who has pre-filed to run for Commissioner Kelli Sobonya’s seat, expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in the program, particularly regarding the reported increase in HIV cases.
Hite King, personally affected by the drug misuse epidemic, opposes the current harm reduction program and its administration. She highlighted the secrecy surrounding the program, with a lack of accessible numbers on the needles distributed. Hite King argued for openness, transparency, and the use of common sense in addressing the drug epidemic, emphasizing the need for the public to be informed and engaged.
The candidate questioned the reported surge in HIV cases, suggesting that going from a few hundred to 1,500 cases in less than a decade challenges the program’s effectiveness. Hite King criticized the administration of the program and urged officials to share accurate and accessible information with the public.
Commissioner Kelli Sobonya, who previously campaigned against the harm reduction program, remains a key figure in the ongoing discussion. Hite King assumed Sobonya still held her anti-needle exchange program stance but acknowledged the possibility of a shift in position.
The secrecy surrounding the harm reduction program, as highlighted by Hite King, raises broader concerns about the balance between addressing public health challenges and maintaining transparency in the decision-making process. As the debate continues, the call for openness and accountability becomes increasingly central to the community’s expectations.
Jan Hite King is a member of the Cabell County Republican Executive Committee and has been an open and ardent political supporter of Commissioners John Mandt and Liza Caldwell.