Springfield, Mass., City Council Members To Propose Needle-Exchange Program To Fight HIV Spread
Springfield, Mass., City Council members Bud Williams and Kateri Walsh plan to present a proposal for a needle-exchange program that would help the city fight the spread of HIV among injection drug users, the Springfield Republican reports. City officials and needle-exchange program advocates said that the program would be mobile, perhaps consisting of a van that would operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and focus on the three areas with the highest rates of injection drug use in the city. Jon Zibbell of the Springfield Users Council, a drug user-run grassroots organization, said that the issue of a needle-exchange program is "less about health than about politics," as only four of the nine city council members support such a program, according to the Republican. If the measure passes with a majority vote in the council, it still could face a veto by Mayor Charles Ryan (D), who has said he believes that having a needle-exchange program "condones drug use," according to the Republican. A veto from Ryan could be overridden by a six-vote margin in the council (Plaisance, Springfield Republican, 2/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.