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Madison County Bars Funding For Needle Exchange Program

Needles

Photo: Steve Burns

Needle exchange programs provide clean syringes and collect used needles for safe discarding.

Officials in a central Indiana county have effectively ended its needle exchange program by cutting off funding for the two-year-old program.

The Madison County Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to bar county funds, donations and gifts from supporting the program that provides IV drug users with clean syringes and collects used ones to reduce needle-sharing that spreads hepatitis C and HIV.

The exchange began in 2015 after the county’s commissioners declared a public health emergency.

Councilman Anthony Emery is an Indiana State Police officer. He said he couldn’t endorse a program that provides illegal paraphernalia to drug users.

But The Herald Bulletin reports county health officer Dr. Stephen Wright told council members that if they ended funding “the next person to contract hepatitis C or HIV will be on your shoulders.”

WATCH: More details on the Madison County program, from June 30, 2017

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