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Central Indiana county debates continuing needle exchange

July 17, 2017

Officials in Madison County are divided over whether to continue a program that provides clean needles to intravenous drug users.

Madison County Council member Brent Holland 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 would effectively end the county’s 2-year-old program.

The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin reported the council could vote Aug. 8 on the proposal. 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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