Springfield Council Member Drops Needle Exchange Proposal
Springfield, Mass., City Council member Timothy Rooke announced Tuesday night that he was abandoning his push for a nonbinding referendum about needle-exchange programs in the city to be included in the Nov. 6 ballot, the Springfield Union-News reports. The question Rooke had proposed -- "Do you want hypodermic needles handed out in your neighborhood to drug addicts to help slow the spread of AIDS?" -- was discussed recently at a public hearing, where some needle-exchange proponents called the question "biased" and said it was "intended to inflame the fears of residents." "After making several amendments to the question as suggested by some of my colleagues, it was apparent that support was not there," Rooke said, adding that he withdrew the question "[i]n the essence of harmony." A similar 1998 nonbinding ballot question was defeated by voters, leading the city to "bloc[k]" a state-funded needle-exchange program (Goonan, Springfield Union-News, 9/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.