County debates continuing needle exchange

By The Associated Press

ANDERSON — Officials in a central Indiana county are divided over whether to continue a program that provides clean needles to intravenous drug users.

A Madison County Council member is pushing an ordinance that would prohibit the county health department from using county or grant money to buy supplies for the needle-exchange program. The proposal from Councilman Brent Holland would effectively end the county’s 2-year-old program.

The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin reports the council could vote Aug. 8 on the proposal. The county commissioners voted in May to continue the program costing about $55,000.

State health department chief medical officer Dr. Joan Duwve told the council last week that ending the program could result in millions of dollars in costs from more cases of hepatitis C and HIV spread through needle sharing.

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