Springfield, Mass., City Council Rejects Needle-Exchange Program
The Springfield, Mass., City Council on Monday rejected 5-4 a plan that would have established a needle-exchange program to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users in the area, the Springfield Republican reports (Plaisance, Springfield Republican, 7/19). In March, the city Public Health Council -- an advisory panel that is appointed by Mayor Charles Ryan (D), who opposes a needle-exchange program -- recommended that the city launch such a program. City officials and needle-exchange program advocates had recommended that the program be mobile, perhaps consisting of a van that would operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and focus on the three areas of the city with the highest rates of injection drug use (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/7). Proponents argued to the council that needle exchanges promote public health by reducing the transmission of HIV and other diseases among injection drug users, but opponents said the city would be engaging in illegal activity if they distributed needles to drug users (Springfield Republican, 7/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.