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Needle exchange program ends in Mercer County, W.Va.

By Charles Boothe, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON, W.Va. — The Mercer County Health Department has ended its needle exchange program.

During Wednesday’s board of health meeting, the board voted to discontinue the program, citing new state regulations that are to so strict compliance is not possible.

“Under the new law, we can’t comply,” Health Department Administrator Roger Topping told board members after presenting them with a list of almost 50 requirements to be approved for a license for a harm reduction program that includes the needle exchange.

The department started offering a “one for one” needle exchange, providing a clean needle to addicts in order to prevent the spread of diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV, in September 2019. In October 2020, Southern Highlands Mental Health Center came on board to provide counseling to those who ask for it.

But during the legislative session earlier this year, a bill was passed to tighten regulations of the program, against the advice of healthcare professionals…

To read more: https://www.bdtonline.com/news/needle-exchange-program-ends-in-mercer-county/article_0d2a8fee-1c04-11ec-9404-cf55e842d737.html

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