Needle exchange program stopped for now, in school zone
CLAREMONT, N.H. (AP) — City officials in Claremont, New Hampshire, are looking for a new location for a needle exchange program, after they discontinued one because it was within a school zone.
The program, called Project 439, was started in July by two Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine students. It operated out of the Claremont Soup Kitchen, but recently discontinued because it is near the New England Classical Academy.
It’s one of two registered syringe service programs in the state that began exchanging clean needles this year. The other program, Hands Up Health Services, runs in the Seacoast region. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed legislation in June allowing needle exchange programs to operate, saying the drug crisis is the state’s most serious public health and safety issue.
City Manager Ryan McNutt said the program was implemented without guidance from the state.
“It’s really left to the local community to determine whether these are allowed,” McNutt said.
A City Council member brought up the issue last month.
Some alternative locations also are within the drug-free zone.
The Claremont exchange handed out clean needles, collected used ones and gave out an overdose reversal drug.
“Every day we can’t run is another day that people are being put at risk for contracting HIV, HCV, or even dying from an overdose,” said Louisa Chen, who helped run the exchange.
Information from: Eagle Times, http://www.eagletimes.com