Syringe exchange program

Syringe Exchange Approved For Marion County

Jun 20, 2018
Syringes for exchange. (Photo: Jake Harper Side Effects)
Jill Sheridan

Marion County is the latest in Indiana to establish a syringe exchange program.  The Indianapolis program adopted by the City-County Council Monday is in response to a hepatitis C outbreak. 

The rise in cases, an estimated 1,000 new cases in 2017, prompted health officials to declare an epidemic last month.  

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we reflect on 2017 with Lafayette’s Tony Roswarski.

His city has finished some major construction projects, is waiting on some others and is dealing with public comments about both, including that flooding along the newly redone Main Street has gotten worse, not better.

Also, we talk about the ongoing debate over affordable housing in the city. Roswarski and other official opposed one plan for more low-income housing on the city’s south side, but the project’s developer simply moved to another site that didn’t require rezoning.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

By the slimmest of margins, Tippecanoe County’s needle exchange program will survive for at least one more year.

A 2-1 vote by the county commissioners Monday came down only after Commissioner David Byers – who’d declined for weeks to state his stance publicly – voted in favor of a continuance.

Byers says he was swayed by talking to other commissioners at a recent state conference and by listening closely to public comment at Monday’s meeting from those who are unhappy about the exchange operating in a residential neighborhood in Lafayette.

hitthatswitch / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ringai/

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.

 

The House passed legislation that aims to crack down on heroin dealers and those who rob pharmacies. But critics argue the legislature is “backsliding” to previous, failed attempts to address the drug epidemic.

The bill increases penalties for robbing a pharmacy and dealing certain amounts of heroin. It also prevents a judge from suspending all or part of some heroin dealing sentences.

deepfruit / https://www.flickr.com/photos/slippek/

Indiana senators are looking to add more restrictions and regulations to county syringe exchange programs, or SEPs.

Four amendments have been added a bill granting counties the ability to set up their own syringe services programs. Currently, the state health commissioner must certify a public health emergency before such a program can be created.

Nathan Forget / flickr.com/photos/nathanf/

A bill that would give counties the ability to set up needle exchanges without first getting state approval is one step closer to becoming law.

A Senate committee has approved the bill despite concerns from Attorney General Curtis Hill.

The Attorney General’s office says it’s neutral on the legislation, but nevertheless sent a representative to Wednesday’s Health and Provider Services Committee with a list of amendments.

deepfruit / https://www.flickr.com/photos/slippek/

Tippecanoe County has received about one-fourth of the grant money it requested to fund a syringe exchange services program aimed at slowing the spread of Hepatitis C among I-V drug users.

Commissioner Tracy Brown says the county accepted an $8,500 grant from the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis.

The county had asked for nearly $33,000.

But Brown insists that’s a good first step toward obtaining cash to buy supplies for the program that, under state law, cannot be funded with taxpayer dollars.

Joe Flintham
https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeflintham/

A governor-approved bill that would give Indiana counties and municipalities the ability to set up their own syringe exchanges passed its first hurtle, clearing the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday afternoon.

Currently, local and regional governments need the state health commissioner to declare a public health emergency before counties can establish their syringe exchange programs. The new bill still does not allow the state to fund the programs, and communities would still have the option to establish exchanges through the state approval method.

Steve Burns / WTIU

Tippecanoe County officials may be coalescing around the idea of using a mobile unit to house the county’s recently-approved syringe services program.

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