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Lewiston police ask mobile needle exchange to stop services

November 27, 2018

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine are telling a needle exchange program to halt the distribution of sterile needles.

Jesse Harvey, founder of the so-called Church of Safe Injection, says he will still hand out free naloxone and other items meant to help combat the state’s opioid crisis. The Portland Press Herald reports Harvey’s group has hosted mobile needle exchange sites in Lewiston every few weeks since this summer.

Public health experts say the Church of Safe Injection operates in a legal gray area, as state law prohibits distribution of sterile needles, but allows “secondary exchange” needle programs. Harvey is designated as a “secondary exchange” recipient in Portland and Bangor.

Harvey says he doesn’t fault Lewiston police for enforcing the law. The department did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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