Springfield, Mass., Public Health Council Recommends City Launch Needle-Exchange Program
The Springfield, Mass., Public Health Council on Wednesday voted 7-4 to recommend that the city launch a needle-exchange program to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users, the Springfield Republican reports. The Public Health Council advises and is appointed by Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan (D), who opposes needle exchange. The City Council is expected to consider a needle-exchange proposal in the next several weeks (Plaisance, Springfield Republican, 3/3). Springfield City Council members Bud Williams and Kateri Walsh last month said they planned to present a proposal for a needle-exchange program. 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/10). However, the chances of the council endorsing a needle-exchange program "remain slim" because a majority of council members oppose such programs, according to the Republican. Opponents of a needle-exchange program said it would "sen[d] the message" that the city approves of illegal drug use, according to the Republican (Springfield Republican, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.