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Utah County votes to oppose any needle-exchange program

August 2, 2018

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Utah County commissioners are declaring their opposition to the establishment of any needle exchange program, citing fears of discarded needles and possible legal liability.

The Daily Herald newspaper reports the county’s addiction-prevention director Richard Nance said Tuesday many such fears are unfounded, but the resolution opposing a program passed with a 2-1 vote.

It was introduced by Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee after the idea was informally proposed at town halls called to address opioid addiction in the county. County Commission Chair Nathan Ivie said a needle-exchange program run by a nonprofit could be an addiction-fighting tool, but his colleagues disagreed.

Needle exchanges are aimed at curbing the spread of disease by making clean needles available. Public health officials say they can help reduce drug use by keeping drug users healthy and directing them to counseling programs.

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