needle exchange program

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

In recent years, several Indiana cities have made sports-related investments as a way of trying to lure athletic tourism dollars.

Now that Lafayette is building a softball park and a new Loeb Stadium, is it the latest municipality to try that tactic?

That’s one of the questions we pose this week to Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor.

City of West Lafayette

West Lafayette’s State Street partially reopened, on time, last month, and drivers have begun getting used to the new traffic patterns.

They’ve had a lot of time to do that because the new architecture leaves them idling in the road for much longer than the old setup did.

ZaldyImg / https://www.flickr.com/photos/8499561@N02/

Tippecanoe County Health Department officials Friday tried to bar reporters from the public building where the county’s needle exchange had begun operating.

Reporters were able to talk with public health nurse Khala Hochstedler until a few minutes before 1 p.m. Friday, when she claimed they had to leave the building.

But because Tippecanoe County decided to start its program over the objections of Lafayette and West Lafayette officials, it had to be in a county-owned space – one that, by definition, is open to the public.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Despite months of objections from Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, Tippecanoe County gets its needle exchange this week – at a fixed location in a neighborhood that Roswarski said he wanted specifically to avoid.

This week on WBAA's Ask The Mayor, we pose this question to the mayor: did all that opposition force the county’s hand into deciding to use the health department’s site as the home of the controversial program?

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Wikimedia Commons

One of the first Indiana counties to implement a syringe exchange is now the first in the state to effectively shut its program down.

Gretchen Frazee / IPBS

After months of struggling to secure a location, the Tippecanoe County Health Department plans to inaugurate a needle exchange program in its building this Friday. 

The program comes nearly a year after a public health emergency was issued for the county.

City of West Lafayette

If it seems to you that Tippecanoe County leaders have been talking forever about starting a needle exchange program, that’s just an illusion – it’s only been about eight months since the first approvals began.

But if it has seemed to you that in recent months support for such a program from some local leaders has waned, that may be true.

Nathan Forget / flickr.com/photos/nathanf/

Even though the number of hepatitis C cases in Tippecanoe County has doubled since 2013, location concerns keep blocking implementation of a syringe exchange program that could help stem the spread of disease.

That was the message from a Wednesday night meeting in Lafayette on the county’s battle against addiction and its ancillary health issues.

Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Consultant Dr. Joan Duwve  says hepatitis C is much easier to transmit than HIV, which is another concern that follows opioid epidemics.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski has been among the chorus of voices saying his city can’t, as the saying goes, “arrest its way out of a drug problem.”

But now that the Indiana General Assembly has made Tippecanoe County a pilot site for a new opioid treatment program, will the mayor be more bullish on that as a solution than he has been on the idea of a needle exchange? We put that question to him this week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor.

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The Indiana Senate has sent a bill allowing counties to start their own syringe exchanges to the governor for his signature. Current law says programs must be approved by the state health department.

The state approved its first needle exchange in 2015 after a serious HIV epidemic, fueled by intravenous drug use, broke out in downstate Scott County.

Advocates of county approval, including State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, say the bill eliminates a time-wasting step, and that local governments know best the health needs of their counties.

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