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Southern Indiana county extends needle exchange program

August 11, 2017

A southern Indiana county is extending its needle exchange program aimed at curbing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV among intravenous drug users.

The News and Tribune of Jeffersonville reported Clark County commissioners on Thursday night voted unanimously to extend the program for another year. The program now will be up for renewal at the end of August 2018.

Clark County Health Officer Dr. Kevin Burke said he believes the discovery of new cases of hepatitis C, a disease spread through sharing needles, shows the exchange is justified. The newspaper says about half of the 150 participants have hepatitis C.

Burke said officials plan to work on ways to improve the return rate of syringes. Of the nearly 16,000 clean syringes distributed, the exchange has collected almost 8,000.

The decision came days after officials in Madison County voted to suspend the needle exchange program based in Anderson.

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