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Faced with complaints, needle exchange program changes rules

March 8, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A health department in West Virginia says it’s changing the way it dispenses clean needles as part of its harm reduction clinic.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail cites a release from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department saying clients must present identification and be present at the clinic to receive needles, beginning Thursday. The changes were announced days after Charleston City Council officials introduced a bill to criminalize the possession of needles.

City officials say the program has led to an increase in needles in public places and in abandoned buildings. Charleston Police Chief Steve Copoer wants the program moved out of the city. Health officials say the program has lessened hepatitis B and C rates and helped drug users get treatment.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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