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Groups appeal crackdown on bookstore’s needle exchange

September 19, 2018

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Two organizations are appealing a North Carolina city’s crackdown on a needle exchange program run out of a bookstore.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Firestorm Books & Coffee and The Steady Collective submitted an appeal Monday, following Asheville’s August issuance of violation notices.

The organizations argue their joint syringe exchange program falls within the scope of the rules and that the city’s scrutiny is unconstitutional and discriminatory. The city says the bookstore is similar to a “shelter,” but the groups say the program is an accessory use of the space, which is 96.5 percent of the time a community space.

According to Steady Collective data, naloxone distributed at Firestorm has reversed 62 overdoses.

City principal planner Shannon Tuch says the organizations risk daily fines of $100 or being shut down.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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