May 10, 2018

Indiana County Extends Needle-Exchange Program For 2 Years

Wayne County Courthouse in Richmond, Indiana. - Greg Hume/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wayne County Courthouse in Richmond, Indiana.

Greg Hume/CC-BY-SA-3.0

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Officials in eastern Indiana's Wayne County have extended its needle-exchange program for two years, saying it has seen growing participation among intravenous drug users.

The county commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to continue the program until June 2020. The (Richmond) Palladium-Item reports the program has 61 registered participants, up from 49 in late 2017. Ninety percent of them identified as being positive for hepatitis C.

Commissioner Mary Anne Butters says more program participants are seeking addiction treatment.

The program recently started providing single-use syringes with retracting needles at the county prosecutor's request to ensure that needles in criminal drug cases aren't coming from the exchange.

Seven Indiana counties have needle exchanges, while those in Madison and Lawrence counties have been closed after complaints about providing illegal paraphernalia to drug users.

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