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The Journal Gazette

Friday, January 12, 2018 1:00 am

Group to run Madison needle exchange

Associated Press

ANDERSON – A central Indiana county that ended its needle exchange program for drug users last summer is in talks with a local group to resume the exchange, a county health official said.

Madison County Health Department administrator Stephenie Grimes told the county's health board Wednesday that a not-for-profit group is negotiating to take over the program aimed at preventing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV through the sharing of needles.

That group wasn't identified, pending a vote by its board of directors, the Herald Bulletin reported.

Madison County's commissioners would have to approve any contract with the group, which would report directly to the State Department of Health, Grimes said.

“The Madison County Health Department will be hands off,” she said.

Madison County's health officer, Stephen Wright, said the group has a good reputation and he's glad it's interested in operating the exchange.

The negotiations come after the Madison County Council adopted an ordinance in August that bars the use of local tax money to manage the needle-exchange. That move effectively ended the program, which allowed drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones.

Seven Indiana counties, including Allen, currently operate exchanges.