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Needle exchange program folding in Scott County

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Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 8:55 PM EDT
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SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) - The needle exchange program in Scott County will soon end.

The program is folding following a two-to-one vote during a county commissioners meeting on Wednesday evening.

After an outbreak of HIV in Indiana due to drug abuse and addicts sharing infected needles, former Gov. Mike Pence launched the needle exchange program in 2015. It marked the first time the state provided addicts with clean needles.

Both commissioners who voted to end the program — Mike Jones (District 2) and Randy Julian (District 1) — expressed concerns at Wednesday night’s meeting, stating that they believed it caused more drug use and overdoses when other treatment options are available for addicts.

The only vote in favor of keeping the program was cast by Commissioner John Lizenby (District 3).

The needle exchange program will end by Jan. 1, 2022, with hopes to have other resources available in Scott County for those suffering from drug addiction. In the event resources are not set up in time, the needle exchange’s end date may be pushed back.

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